Skip to main content

Full text of "PAM 20-211 Personnel Replacement System in the United States Army"

See other formats


m. 20-211 



NO. 20-211 





Lieutenant Colonel, Infantry 
United States Army 


AUGUST 1954 

Washington 25, D. C, 30 August 1954. 

DA Pamphlet 20-211 is published for the information and use of 
all concerned. 

[AG 314.7 (15 Feb 54) ] 

By order of the Secretary of the Army: 


General, United States Army, 
Official : G hie f of S taff. 

Major General, United States Army, 
The Adjutant General. 

Distribution : 

Active Army: 

GSUSA (5) ; SSUSA (5) ; Tech Svc (5) ; Admin & Tech 
Svc Bd (1); AFF (25); OS Maj Comd (10) except 
USAREUR, USAFFE (5); MDW (1); A (5); CHQ 
(3) ; Div (1) ; Sch (5) ; PMS&T (1) ; Mil Dist (1). 

NO: StateAG(l);Div(l). 

USAR:T>vv (1). 

For explanation of distribution formula, see SR 310-90-1. 



The Special Studies Division, Office, Chief of Military History, 
Department of the Army, is presently preparing a series of studies 
dealing with recurrent problems, such as mobilization, demobilization, 
replacement system, etc., which will always be of interest to the Army. 
The "Personnel Replacement System in the United States Army" is 
one of these projects. It was undertaken in keeping with the Army's 
policy of exploiting all historical data that may be of practical value. 

The studies are being made available to the General Staff and to 
the Army schools and colleges as reference works. They will also 
prove of value to all who are interested in military affairs. 

Events move swiftly and this document, which does not include 
replacement problems beyond the end of World War II, already is 
merely background for events that followed that conflict. In the 
field of replacements, as in other military activity, developments are 
continuous, and another study will be needed to determine the lessons 
of the Korean operations. 

A. C. Smith, 

Major' General, USA, 
Chief, Military History. 

Washington, D. C, February 1951^ 



The purpose of this text is to provide the Army with a factual 
record of the measures taken to offset personnel losses during the 
various periods of American military history. It is the first com- 
prehensive review of the replacement system to cover the entire span 
of the existence of the United States Army, but it does not contain 
any magic formula to follow, nor does it offer any secret key to unlock 
the door to the Nation's manpower resources. Success comes only 
from the hard work of staff officers who apply sound principles to 
whatever immediate situation is under consideration. 

These chapters in providing reference material heretofore not con- 
veniently available offer a starting point to the student who is inter- 
ested in the military personnel replacement system and to staff offi- 
cers seeking to solve the replacement problems that have always 
plagued the Army. The footnotes will guide them to an extensive 
field of research if they wish to carry the study further. 

The chapters on the earlier periods show the foundation for the re- 
placement system laid during the Revolution, the War of 1812, the 
Mexican conflict, and the Civil War. Three preliminary drafts of 
portions, of the study were distributed for comment. More than 100 
letters received in reply were considered in the final revision. Those 
letters are on file, as indicated by the footnotes, and can be made avail- 
able to students or interested staff officers upon request. 

Lt, Col. Joseph Rockis, who started the work, was transferred to 
another assignment and the undersigned continued the task. First Lt. 
J ohn H. Beeler wrote the Civil War chapter and contributed to other 
portions of the work. To all who assisted, the author acknowledges 
his indebtedness. 


Lieutenant Colonel, Infantry. 
Washington, D. C, February 195^ 





Origin and Meaning of the Term 1 

The First British Regulars in America 2 

The Colonial Military Forces 4 

American Distrust of Standing Armies 8 

The Continental Army 9 

The Militia as a Source for Continental Replacements 14 

Factors Affecting Replacement Requirements 19 

Desertions 19 

Substitutes 20 

Enlistment of Negroes 20 

Health and Hospitalization 21 

Replacement of Officers 22 

The Corps of Invalids 24 

Replacements for the Light Infantry 25 

Replacements for the Peace Establishment 30 

The War of 1812 36 

The Beginning of the General Recruiting Service 45 

The Mexican War 52 

Replacements for Posts in the Far West 60 


Depletion of the Armies 73 

The Regular Army 77 

The Volunteers 85 

Federal Experiments in Recuriting 107 

The Veteran Volunteers 108 

The Veteran Reserve Corps 112 

Negro Troops 113 

The Militia 116 

Replacement Resources Within the Army 117 

Exchanged Troops 117 

Recovered Sick and Wounded 118 

The Use of Other Arms as Infantry 119 

Utilization of Prisoners of War and Deserters 120 

Replacement of Officers 121 

Conclusions 123 


1904 126 

Indian Wars and the Occupation of the South, 1865-77- _ 126 

Readjustment After the Civil War 126 

The Recruiting Services 129 

Desertions 131 

Proposals for Reorganizing the Army 132 

Efforts To Improve Training 135 

First Classification of Enlisted Men 136 

Indian Scouts 137 






1904.— Continued 

Efforts To Create a Reserve Force 138 

Attempts To Economize 139 

The Closing of the Recruiting Depots 140 

The War with Spain and the Philippine Insurrection.. 143 

The Military Campaigns 143 

The Regular Army 143 

Regiments of "Immunes" 145 

The Volunteers . 146 

The Volunteer Signal Corps 149 

The Failure To Replace Loses 150 

The San Francisco Depot 151 

Depot Battalions for Units Serving in the Tropics. 152 

Volunteers for the Philippine Insurrection 153 

Developments Which Affected Future Replacement 

Policies 154 



The Return to the Recruit Depot System 156 

Experiences With Understrength Units 159 

Induction of the National Guard and the Pershing Ex- 
pedition 162 

The National Defense Act of June 3 1916 and Its Rela- 
tion to the Replacement System 166 

Summary of the Period of Operations Along the Mexican 

Border 167 



Allied Proposals for Integration 169 

The Political Factors 171 

The General Staff's Replacement Plan 172 

Transition From the Territorial System 174 

Recruit Depots and Army Cantonments 176 

The First Replacement Training Camps 179 

The Effectiveness of the Replacement Camps 185 

Embarkation Depots 187 

Illiterates and Limited Service Men 188 

Classification of Military Skills 190 

The Trend Toward Specialization 193 

Officers 194 


Changes in Unit Organization 199 

The General Organization Project 200 

Provisional Units in France , 204 

Automatic and Exceptional Requisitions 205 

Item Numbers 206 

Replacement Depots and Regulating Stations 206 

Unit Experiences in Receiving Replacements 208 

Buildup of the 4th Division During a Rest Period 210 

The Engineer Center at Angers 210 

Replacement Shortages in Combat Units 211 



TEM 217 

The 8th Division 217 

The 32d Division 218 

The 40th Division 218 

The 41st Division 219 

The 83d Division 221 

The 85th Division 221 

The 31st Division 222 

The 34th Division 222 

The 38th Division 223 

The 39th Division 223 

The 76th Division 223 

The 84th Division 223 

The 86th Division 224 

The 4th, 55th ? and 57th Pioneer Infantry 224 



Army Reorganization 229 

Democracy and Education 230 

Regular Army Commissions 233 

The Harbord Board's Study of the Replacement System. 235 
General SummeralFs Predictions on Replacement Re- 
quirements 236 

Mobilization of the Civilian Conservation Corps 237 

The Replacement Plan as Outlined in 1936 239 

Mobilization Plans 241 

Loss Replacement Ratio Tables 244 

The 1939 Study of Replacement Regulations 245 

The 1940-41 Expansion of the Army 247 

Replacement Tests During Maneuvers 253 

The Joint Army-Navy Selective Service Committee 254 


The War Department Reorganization of March 1942 255 

Administration of Military Personnel 258 

Proposals for a Personnel Control Division 262 

Development of the Replacement System 265 


The Manpower Problem 269 

The 1943 Crisis 270 

The Army Specialized Training Program 272 

Overseas Shortages 274 

A Disappearing Ground Combat Arm}^ 277 

The Problem of Specialists 278 

Overstrength of the Army 281 

The April 1944 Conference 287 

The Replacement Directive to the Theaters 291 

The 1944 Committee on Personnel Procedures 295 

The December Conferences 298 

The Stilwell Replacement Plan 303 

The Learned-Smith and Other Replacement Studies 304 





The Wide Range of Military Reauirements 312 

Classification 312 

Officers 319 

Rotation 328 

Morale 338 

Public Relations 340 

Basics 342 

The Women's Army Corps 344 


Armed Forces Induction Stations 346 

Reception Centers 347 

Replacement Training Centers 350 

Early Developments 350 

Organization and Operation 352 

Training 355 

Army Service Forces Practices 361 

Health and Morale 364 

Division Assignment Centers 365 

Special Training Units 369 

Overseas Replacement Depots 375 

Processing Centers 385 

Reassignment and Redistribution Stations 386 

Replacement Depots, Battalions, and Companies 388 


Growth by Trial and Error 392 

Commands in the Pacific 394 

The Central Pacific Area 396 

The South Pacific Area 399 

The Southwest Pacific Area 401 

Early Organization 401 

Organization of USAFFE 403 

Methods of Assignment 404 

Activation of the Theater Replacement Command. 405 

Organization Prior to the Japanese Surrender 406 

Depot Operations 406 

Experiences of Combat Units 410 

Pacific Ocean Areas and the Middle Pacific 412 

Organization 412 

Requisitions and Assignments 41? 

Support from the 6th Depot 413 

Arrival of the 23d Replacement Depot 413 

Preparations for the Okinawa Invasion 414 

Training T 415 

Transfer Lists 417 

Exchange Operations 417 

China-Burma-India Theater 417 

The North African and the Mediterranean Theaters of 

Operations 418 

The Campaign in Tunisia 418 

Inspections Early in 1944 421 

Reorganizations of the Theater - 422 

Training 425 




Officer Training Courses 427 

Retraining 427 

Conditioning Companies 429 

Rotation 430 

"Forced Issues' ' of Noncommissioned Officers 431 

Information and Education 431 

Reports and Estimates 432 

Results 433 

Final Activities 437 

The European Theater of Operations 438 

The First Depots 438 

The Central Control Agency 439 

The Field Forces Replacement System 440 

The Replacement System, ETOUSA 440 

Army Air Forces Depots 441 

The Ground Forces Replacement Command 442 

Depot Functions 444 

"Package" Shipments 445 

Transfer of Responsibility from MTO 446 

Movement of Headquarters 447 

Directive on Manpower Conservation 447 

The Theater Manpower Section 450 

Assignment of General Lear 451 

Reports and Requisitions 452 

The Movement of Replacements 452 

Movements by Air 458 

The Change to "Reinforcement" Command. 459 

Hospital Returnees 460 

Inspection Reports 463 

Unit Experiences 465 

Overstrength for the Army of Occupation 468 

Final Operations 468 










1. Replacement Sources During the Revolutionary War, 1775-83 19 

2. Sources of Military Personnel Recruited During the War of 1812 37 

3. Replacement Sources During the War With Mexico, 1846-48 53 

4. The Organization of the Regular and Volunteer Armies, With Sche- 

matic Representation of Replacement Sources During the Civil 
War, 1861-65 84 

5. Schematic Representation of the Provost Marshal General's Bureau, 

1863-65 96 

6. Replacement Sources During the War With Spain and the Philippine 

Insurrection, 1898-1903 148 

7. The Replacement System in World War I, 1917-18 202 

8. The Personnel Replacement System Following the Reorganization of 

9 March 1942 256 

9. Functional Organization Chart, Overseas Theater Replacement 

System 293 

10. Replacement Installations 353 

11. Replacement Pipelines — World War II 393 


1. Troops Furnished in the Revolutionary War, by Year 18 

2. Monthly Strengths and Replacements Needed in Four Regiments on 

the Western Frontier: 1856-60 70 

3. Enlistments and Reenlistments in the Regular Army: 1 January-31 

October 1864 82 

4. Enlistments and Reenlistments in the Regular Army: 31 October 1864- 

1 October 1865 83 

5. Men furnished by the Draft: 1863-65 97 

6. Strength of Michigan Regiments: 1 November 1863, and 1 November 

1864 101 

7. Funds Appropriated for the Recruiting Services: Fiscal Years 1867-79. 129 

8. Strength of Regular and Volunteer Armies: May-August 1898 149 

9. Proposed Corps Organization, World War I 200 

10. Battle Casualties, Replacements, and Strengths of Combat Divisions 

in Action During World War I 228 


Baron von Steuben Instructing Recruits at Washington's Headquarters, 

Valley Forge, 1778 27 

Civil War Recruiting Required Various Expedients 81 

Civil War Inspection 98 

Bayonet Instruction at Camp Gordon, Ga., 1918 184 

World War I Officers at Plattsburg, N. Y., Waiting to Receive Equipments. 197 

Jungle Training School, Central Pacific Area, 1943 397 

World War II Transports 409 

American Troops Departing from London Railroad Station, June 1943 455 

Photographs are from the file of the Department of Defense. 



Origin and Meaning of the Term 

The Dictionary of United States Army Military Terms defines a 
replacement as an "individual assigned or destined for assignment 
to fill a vacancy in an organization." 1 Under the terms of this defini- 
tion, everyone who enters the military service comes in as a replace- 
ment. Many become replacements several times during their military 
careers. Those who fill units being formed, or who go to units that 
have not previously received men to fill the vacancies involved, are 
designated "filler replacements"; those who fill places vacated by 
others are known as "loss replacements." The term "replacement 
system" is comparatively new, not having been used before World 
War I; but the problem is old because military forces have always 
required replacements. 

The history of the replacement system in America goes back to the 
early settlements along the Atlantic coast which developed into the 
original 13 colonies. The earliest forces that were formed in America 
were modeled after the European armies of the time. The highest 
organized units were battalions or regiments — the two terms fre- 
quently being used interchangeably. Staff organization was simple, 
consisting mainly of quartermasters responsible for supply and adju- 
tants responsible for the publication of orders. 

The organization of the armies progressed as tactics changed, re- 
forms frequently being inspired by defeat and disaster. Formations 
changed from the hollow square to the mass, then to the line of 
musketeers, and finally to an extended line of skirmishers. Infantry 
came to be regarded as the most useful arm in open engagements, 
cavalry ;was developed for its capabilities of shock and pursuit, and 
artillery became more and more essential for attacks on fortified posi- 
tions. Armies were specializing, and, as they did so, staff operations, 
including those having to do with the procurement and assignment of 
men, became more complicated. 

Like many other military practices, replacement procedures de- 
veloped along separate lines in the standing armies of Europe and the 
Militia units. England's Militia companies underwent regular drills 

1 DA SR 320-5-1, Aug 50, p. 195. 




and inspections but, in contrast with the Regular forces, were subject 
to a minimum of centralized control. Lords lieutenant in each county 
commanded the Militia units, and all eligible men, in succession, were 
required to undergo fixed terms of active service. Limitations on 
foreign service by Militia troops were partially removed in 1757 by a 
measure which empowered the King to call the Militia into his service 
in case of danger. 2 

Militia companies frequently came to the assistance of the King's 
troops, but when the people were in conflict with the king, the Militia 
was more likely to support the people. For this reason, monarchs 
often were reluctant to authorize Militia. Conflicts between Federal 
and State military control continued for many years. Because the 
Militia was close to the people, it recognized the principle of universal 
military service to a greater extent than prevailed in the standing 
armies, which sometimes were made up of mercenaries. In the United 
States, Militia units became State rather than Federal military 

The United States Eegular Army, before World War I, made no 
distinction between the recruiting service and the replacement system. 
For this reason, the early peacetime history of the Regular Army 
replacement practices is to be found in the records of the recruiting 
service. They show the gradual separation of the function of procur- 
ing men from the functions of classifying, training, and assigning 
them. In times of war, Regular Army practices have been modified as 
a result of calling State and volunteer troops into Federal service. 
Today the agencies that procure personnel are not the same agencies 
that are responsible for the replacement of personnel. Recruiting 
officers, selective service boards, and other agencies bring individuals 
into the service. After recruits are inducted, they pass through the 
classification centers, training camps, and embarkation depots that 
make up the replacement system. From the viewpoint of the soldier 
comjng into the Army, the replacement system is merely a "placement 
system" : the prefix neither adds nor detracts from the meaning of the 

The First British Regulars in America 

The First British Regular Troops stationed in America consisted of 
a mixed battalion of the First and Coldstream Guards that came to 
Virginia to suppress the rebellion of 1677. 3 The next unit, a company 
that arrived in 1686, was quartered in Boston. The demobilization of 
the British Army after the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 created 
"mobs" of unemployed in England, and some 4,000 former soldiers 

2 John W. Fortescue, History of the British Army (London, 1899), II, p. 32. 

3 Fortescue, op. ext., II, p. 251. 



with their families crossed the Atlantic and founded the city of Hali- 
fax to better their economic conditions. During the French and In- 
dian Wars, large numbers of these veterans joined Militia companies, 
rangers, or other irregular units. Some of these same men later were 
taken into the British regular forces in which they fought during the 
Revolutionary War. 

After the government in London learned of Gen. Edward Brad- 
dock's defeat on the Monongahela in July 1755, the War Ministry 
appointed Jacque Prevost, a Swiss officer, to raise a four-battalion 
regiment of provincials in America. Prevost with 40 German officers 
arrived in America on 15 June 1756, and recruited the Royal Ameri- 
cans, many of whom were Pennsylvania Germans. 4 

A British Army experiment foreshadowed the recruit depots which 
were developed into important training units 100 years later. In 1760, 
each of the regiments on active service abroad detailed two companies 
of infantry and a troop of cavalry to remain at home on recruiting 
duty. If successful this plan would have made unnecessary the re- 
turn of recruiting officers to England. The effort apparently was not 
successful because within a short time the depot companies returned to 
their regiments. Drafts on military organizations in England proved 
more effective in strengthening regiments abroad; during the Seven 
Years War, many English units served only as reservoirs from which 
replacements were drawn. 5 

The British formed few new regiments during the early part of the 
Eevolutionary War. Recruits were used to bring understrength com- 
panies to war footing and to form new companies which were added 
to old regiments. When the first of the new regiments was formed 
in 1778 the King reluctantly gave permission for the prospective 
colonel to sell commissions, a practice known as raising men for rank, 
because he feared every nobleman who raised a regiment would seek 
commissions and other favors for unqualified relatives. George III 
also realized that the new regiments took men who were needed in the 
old regiments. He said : "An old regiment, composed of good officers 
and noncommissioned officers, will bear a great augmentation, and 3 
months fit it for service, but a new raised corps will require at least a 
year to be trained for actual service." 6 The Royal Manchester, Royal 
Liverpool, and Royal Edinburgh regiments were formed in 1779 by 
the community efforts of the cities from which they took their names. 
The city officials nominated the officers. 

Regiments too depleted to continue in service were broken up and 
their men transferred to other regiments, low in strength. Members 

4 J. F. C. Fuller, British Light Infantry in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1925), p. 99. 
6 Fortescue, op ext., II, pp. 585-86. 

6 Edward E. Curtis, The Organization of the British Army in the American Revolution 
(New Haven, 1926), p. 71. 



of one regiment sometimes were drafted to fill another regiment. In 
that event the remaining officers and noncommissioned officers usually 
went on recruiting duty in an attempt to reconstitute their units. 
Sometimes soldiers forcibly resisted transfers : a detachment of 200 
men under Maj. James Johnston at Leith in 1779 fired on mutineers be- 
longing to the 31st, 42d, and 7lst Kegiments to force them into the 83d 
Kegiment, due to sail for America. 7 

Units serving in America were filled by enlisting men in the Colonies 
when possible. The British met with recruiting difficulties in some 
localities, but in other places they were successful. The commander 
of a Royal Battalion in America reported in 1760 that his unit was 
understrength, but said he could get no recruits because the local resi- 
dents preferred the large bounties provincial authorities offered for 
service in the home militia regiments. During the Revolution, Oliver 
Delancey, a New York Loyalist who undertook to raise three battalions 
for the British, was commissioned a brigadier general. Courtland 
Skinner, of Jersey, received similar rank when he attempted, without 
much success, to raise five battalions. 8 

The Colonial Military Forces 

The Militia system in America gradually became a recognized mili- 
tary organization with separate units in each colony, but with no cen- 
tral command above the colony. The American Militiaman retained 
his frontier independence. In Massachusetts, for instance, the right 
to elect officers was expressed by law in 1658, and other colonies had 
similar regulations. 9 Although the principal of compulsory military 
service was written into the law, actual service usually was voluntary, 
and it was often necessary to conduct recruiting drives among the 
enrolled Militia members to obtain filler replacements for units about 
to go on active service. Since the campaigns usually were short, units 
did not have to be kept up to strength for very long. 

An influential resident who desired a military command could 
be assured the support of the local authorities if he could show the 
signatures of enough men who were willing to enlist to make up a 
unit. If he had exercised care in the selection of these men he could 
be reasonably certain they would vote for him in their company 

Instructions issued to recruiting officers required each captain "by 
beat of drums or otherwise 5 ' to raise 30 men; each lieutenant to raise 
18 men ; and each ensign to raise 12 men. 10 Captains were required 

* Ibid. 

8 John Frost, The Book of the Army (New York, 1845), p. 80. 

9 Military Obligation: The American Tradition ("Backgrounds of Selective Service/* 
Monograph No. I, vol. II, pt, 1 {Washington, 1947].), p. 82. 

10 John C. Fitzpatrick (ed.), The Writings of George Washington from the Original 
Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799 (Washington, 1931), I, p. 163. 



to continue their recruiting until their companies were full; those 
who failed might lose their commissions. 11 The command of a unit 
often fell upon a subaltern until the commander obtained the required 
number of recruits. Age limits ranged from 16 to 50. Men under 5 
feet 4 inches were unacceptable unless they were "well made, strong, 
and active." Those who had "old sores" or were "subject to fits" were 
rejected. 12 

Immediately after a man agreed to enlist and was accepted he was 
sent to a place of rendezvous where he took the oath of enlistment. 
It was there that he was examined and given his first instructions, but 
a second physical examination was given when he was mustered into 
his unit. 

These rendezvous points had some features similar to the replace- 
ment camps of later years. Qualified noncommissioned officers taught 
the men the "new platoon way of exercising" and supervised practice- 
shooting at target, 13 After 20 or more recruits had arrived at a 
rendezvous point, the group was drawn up in a military formation 
and marched under a sergeant or an officer to the companies for which 
the men had enlisted. Twenty-five men were considered too many 
for a noncommissioned officer ; when more than that number were to 
be moved, an officer took command. 14 

George Washington's experiences while an officer in the Virginia 
Colonial forces provide some of the best recorded examples of the 
methods used to provide replacements in American armies before the 
Eevolution. After several weeks of recruiting, Washington assem- 
bled at Alexandria, Va., by 20 March 1754, a group of 75 fillers for 
the expedition into the Ohio Valley. Nearly 50 of these men had 
been enlisted by Washington personally, an accomplishment the Vir- 
ginia House of Burgesses took into consideration when it later ele- 
vated the young officer to the grade of leutenant colonel. Two com- 
panies, totaling approximately 120 men, on 2 April 1754, started on 
the expedition which culminated in the capitulation of Washington 
and his troops at Fort Necessity on 4 July 1754. 

Inducing men to enlist was not the only problem that confronted 
Washington. He soon received complaints which have long been 
familiar to officers connected with replacements. A large number of 
his recruits could not readily adapt themselves to military service. 
Many who joined his command were described as "loose, idle persons, 
quite destitute of house and home." 15 Home owners, who made more 
capable soldiers, were not attracted to the military service. Even 

11 Ibid., I, p. 241. 
™ Ibid., I, p. 163. 
13 Ibid., I, p. 170. 
11 Ibid, t I, p. 199. 
16 Ibid/, I, p. 32. 

346225 O - 55 - 2 



men living farther west who were more exposed to the ravages of war 
disliked to take up arms. In October 1755, Washington wrote that he 
was unable to induce the Ohio settlers, many of whom were in flight 
from the intruding French, "to lodge their families in a safe place and 
join the militia companies." 16 The men refused to stir, choosing to 
die with their wives and children rather than fight alongside their 
neighbors for the protection of their homes. 

Some of the officers on recruiting duty were admonished for having 
been "out 6 weeks or 2 months without getting a man ; spending their 
time in all the gayety of pleasurable mirth." 17 Others were repri- 
manded for exceeding their authority by using improper methods 
such as "forcibly taking, confining, and torturing those who would not 
otherwise enlist." 18 Washington believed that laxity within the 
military organization aroused contempt on the part of the public, 
which in turn was reflected by greater insolence and laziness on the 
part of officers and men. He recognized public opinion as an important 
factor in filling vacancies in units. 

The failure of the expedition to the Ohio in 1754 made necessary the 
immediate reconstruction of the colonial forces in Virginia and pre- 
sented a new replacement problem that was all the more serious be- 
cause the officers, many of who had been unable to collect expenses in- 
curred in previous recruiting, were reluctant to engage in that duty 
again. 19 The difficulties were intensified by Braddock's defeat in July 
of the following year. On 2 August 1755, Washington called together 
the Virginia officers to consider what actions they should take to 
stimulate recruiting. Little more than a month later, Washington 
took command of the Virginia regiment and started a recruiting pro- 
gram intended to bring its strength to 1,200 men formed into 16 com- 
panies. By 9 January 1756, the full number of companies had been 
formed, but all were understrength and they still were understrength 
when the drive ended in March. 

The House of Burgesses then voted a draft which was intended to 
bring the strength of the Virginia regiment to 1,500 men, but men 
were called for only 7 months' service. 20 Those who could pay £10 
were exempt from the draft and the result was that few men were 
added to the active companies. The forfeitures were not used to stimu- 
late enlistments because they went into the Virginia general fund 
rather than the recruiting fund. 

Washington disapproved the section of the law which prohibited 
ordering drafted men outside of Virginia. He also criticized what 

16 Ibid., I, p. 194. 
« Ibid., I, p. 241. 
» Ibid., I, p. 240. 
19 Ibid., I, p. 102. 
*>Ibid. t II, p. 9. 



he described as "ill-judged economy shown in the raising of men," and 
blamed the colony for "attempting to evade the expense until the blow 
is struck, then running into an expense of rushing militia into service. 
These, after an age, as it were, is spent in assembling them, come up, 
make a noise for a time, oppress the inhabitants, and then return, 
leaving the frontiers unguarded as before." 21 

A later Virginia law impressed vagrants, but these miscreants were 
found to lower the standards of discipline, increase the desertion rate, 
and add to the troubles of the military commanders. 22 Desertions 
caused many of the vacancies for which Washington was seeking re- 
placements. Some deserters were hanged under the provisions of the 
mutiny bills, which were passed annually by Parliament and which 
prescribed death as the penalty for desertion. 23 

When preparations for operations against Fort Duquesne started 
in April 1758, Washington was directed to expand the companies of 
the Virginia regiment to 100 rank and file, thus coming face to face 
with a replacement problem which has appeared in nearly all wars — 
that of increasing the strength of peacetime units for wartime service. 
Washington's problem was further complicated by his inability to 
retain drafted men later than December of that year. The regimental 
commander sent all the officers he could spare on recruiting duty, en- 
gaging some of the most popular of the "country gentlemen" to help 
raise this force. The Virginia House of Burgesses delayed for so 
long the authorization of the funds (each recruit received a bounty 24 
of $10) that Washington for a time feared the expense would come 
out 'of his own pocket. 

Although the order to march came before the recruiting campaign 
was completed, nearly 1,600 men from Virginia took part in this 
expedition to the Ohio along with 1,200 Highlanders, 350 Royal 
Americans (both British military units), about 2,700 provincials from 
Pennsylvania, and smaller numbers from Maryland and North 

Washington realized that if he could enlist the Indians as allies he 
might require fewer men in the active Militia. Both the British and 
the French had augmented their fighting forces by using Indians as 
guides, scouts, or as other assistants. Washington declared that 
Indians were the only match for Indians, that without them his 

21 Ibid., II, p. 16. 

22 Ibid., II, p. 8. 

33 Ibid., I, p. 265; II, p. 97. 

2 * Bounties frequently were offered to spur enlistments, but the colonies generally were 
slow in payment. Governor Robert Dinwiddie, who hoped to substitute land grants for 
money payments, in 1754 had set aside 200,000 acres on the east side of the Ohio Kiver 
to be divided among those men who served in the campaigns against the French. Some of 
this land was surveyed and patents is'sued in 1773, but many of the titles were in dispute 
long after that. Ibid., Ill, p. 283. 



men would fight on unequal terms, but he added that the French gen- 
erally were able to outbid the British in dealing with the Indians. 25 
On his trip to the Ohio in 1754 he had urged the Half -King, an Indian 
chief of the Six Nations, to support the British. When the fortune of 
war turned against the French, the Indians shifted their favor. Wash- 
ington believed that this desertion of the Indians led the French to 
abandon Fort Duquesne in 1758. 26 

American Distrust of Standing Armies 

The American colonists disapproved of standing armies. They re- 
membered the British Army's lifetime enlistments, the press gangs 
that seized vagrants off the streets, the judges who released convicts 
on condition they would join the Army, and other abuses commonly 
practiced to obtain men for military service. An anonymous English 
writer expressed this sentiment in a 1697 political pamphlet that de- 
clared: "Whether our enemies shall conquer us is uncertain. But 
whether a standing army will enslave us, neither reason nor experience 
will suffer us to doubt," 27 

British officers used harsh punishments to maintain discipline 
among the numerous unruly outcasts in their companies. Conditions 
improved in popular wars, such' as the Spanish conflict of 1739, when 
recruits were so plentiful the officers could pick their men; during 
other years, when the major portion of the British Army came from 
outcasts and criminals, no amount of flogging could reduce the de- 
sertion rate or check the insubordination. 28 

The American colonists regarded regular military service as a 
thing to be avoided, but, in contrast to their distrust of regular troops, 
they, like most Englishmen, looked upon the Militia as a bulwark of 
freedom. The conduct of the British Regular troops in America did 
not change this sentiment. The British practice of billeting troops 
in private homes, for instance, added to the ill feelings and brought 
protests from householders. 

British use of mercenary troops during the Revolution was unpopu- 
lar, not only in the Colonies they were fighting against, but also in 
England and in some of the German states which furnished the men. 
The first of these mercenaries arrived in Canada and New York during 
the summer of 1776. British treaties with the minor German states 
provided for 30 marks payment for each man, one-third to be paid 1 
month after the execution of the treaty, the balance within 2 months. 
Each man wounded, captured, or otherwise made unserviceable obli- 

™IMd., II, pp. 39-44. 

26 Ibid. 

27 A Discourse Concerning Militias and Standing Armies (London, 1697), p. 5. 

28 Fortescue, op. cit., II; pp. 32 and 572. 



gated the British for the additional payment of a similar amount. 
Two months' pay was advanced to each man on enlistment. The first 
replacements from Germany for the units in America came in August 
1781 when 2,988 arrived. Another group came during the summer 
of 1782. During the war, approximately 30,000 Germans were sent to 
America: 17,000 from Hesse-Cassel, 2,000 from Hesse-Hanau, 6,000 
from Brunswick, and the remainder from the smaller states. After 
1782, Great Britain was unable to obtain additional troops from 
Germany. 29 

The Continental Congress on 26 May 1784 reaffirmed American op- 
position to standing armies when it resolved . . standing armies 
in time of peace are inconsistent with the principles of republican gov- 
ernment, dangerous to the liberties of a free people, and generally 
converted into destrictive engines for establishing despotism." 30 This 
distrust 'of a standing army was an important factor in the develop- 
ment of the American military system because it resulted in the States 
retaining control over manpower to an extent which interf erred with 
operations of the Regular Army. 

The Continental Army 

Although the American colonies had started some significant mili- 
tary preparations as early as 1745, acting independently at first but 
later in some unison, there was no comprehensive plan for raising 
men or maintaining units in the field at the outbreak of the Revolu- 
tionary War. George Washington's remark to the Virginia House 
of Burgesses in the spring of 1774, "I will raise 1,000 men, subsist 
them at my own expense and march myself at their head for the relief 
of Boston," 31 indicates that the colonists generally underrated their 
enemy and had little idea of what a conflict with Britain would mean 
in regard to troops required, length of service, or provisions for keep- 
ing units at effective strength. 

The minutemen who responded to the call to arms at Concord and 
Lexington were following a tradition more than 100 years old, but it 
was the tradition of men who fought one day and returned home the 
next. The Militia at Boston was not organized for extended service. 
New regiments had to be called out for the siege of the city. 

The Second Continental Congress, after convening in Philadelphia 
on 19 May 1775, took over the Army and gave the command to Wash- 
ington. Upon reaching Cambridge in July, the new commander 

29 J. G. Rosengarten, The German Allied Troops in the North American War of Inde- 
pendence (Albany, 1893), pp. 17 and 217. 

30 W. C. Ford and Others (eds.), Journals of the Continental Congress^ 1771-1789 
(Washington, 1905-33), XXVII, p. 433. 

31 John C. Fitzpatriek, George Washington Himself (Indianapolis, 1933), p. 157. 



found men "going and coming about as they pleased." 32 Massachu- 
setts had sent about 1,200 troops, many boys or deserters; New Hamp- 
shire had raised 3 regiments totaling about 1,200 ; Connecticut had sent 
6 regiments, or 2,300 ; and Rhode Island had contributed 3 regiments 
of 8 companies each, Washington estimated his force at 14,500 able- 
bodied men. 33 All enlistments for the troops around Boston were due 
to expire 31 December 1775. 

A council of general officers on 8 October 1775 recommended that 
the Army ought to consist of not less than 20,372 men, formed into 26 
regiments (exclusive of riflemen and artillery), each regiment to num- 
ber 728 men, officers included. The units then in service differed in 
organization, some regiments having 11 companies, some 10, others 8. 
The authorized strength of these regiments varied from 590 to 1,000 

This council also suggested that men should be engaged for 1 year, 
or until December 1776, adding that they could be discharged sooner 
if the military necessity for their services ceased before that date. 34 
General orders of 22 October 1775 called upon all "brave men and 
true patriots" willing to serve beyond their terms of enlistment to con- 
sider themselves engaged until the last day of December 1776 and 
called for a report of the number who would remain. At least a third 
of the officers indicated they would not continue. Washington 
declared that the attitude of these officers discouraged the men. 35 

Reenlistments were difficult to obtain because few men recognized 
any obligation to stay. Some left camp to work on their farms ; others 
went to work on farms belonging to their officers or found employ- 
ment elsewhere. Officers generally lived outside the camp, some in 
houses several miles distant. 36 

The men shifted from one company to another as suited their 
fancy. 37 Efforts to adjust strengths of units by reorganizations 
usually failed because men from different communities frequently 
refused to associate with one another. Soldiers who had elected 
their officers contended they were not bound to serve under other 
officers. 38 

Washington finally overcame all of these difficulties. During the 
winter of 1775-76, he replaced his entire Army while living under 
the guns of the enemy, an accomplishment which probably has never 
been equaled by any other commander. 39 But this recruiting of an 

32 Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, III, pp. 306-331. 

33 Ibid., Ill, p. 330. 
M Ibid,, IV, p. 8 f . n. 

35 Ibid., IV, p. 55 ; Journals of the Continental Congress, III, pp. 321-324. 

36 Orderly Booh, LX (27 Apr to 9 Aug 1772), p. 76. Revolutionary War Records. 
National Archives. 

37 Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, III, p. 363. 
**Ibid., Ill, p. 392. 

** Ibid., Ill, p. 327. 



entirely new force did not end the need for replacements. Men were 
required for new organizations including a "train of the artillery" 
and cavalry, 40 

Washington's experience with some of his first cavalry troops indi- 
cates the difficulty officers were having in starting civilians on their 
way to become good soldiers, a task which in later years was to be 
a major function of replacement installations. The first cavalry units 
formed during the Revolution, "light dragoons," whose members 
were farmers mounted on rough country horses, did not meet with a 
very cordial reception when they arrived at the camp near Boston. 
The Commander in Chief had expected this group of about 500 to 
relieve some of his manpower shortages, but when they refused to 
do guard duty or fatigue, Washington, afraid they would undermine 
the morale of the remainder of his troops, sent them home. His 
action was criticized by many who believed 6 weeks of training would 
have brought the rough frontiersmen into shape. 41 

As recruiting for the Continental Army got under way, recruiting 
parties were sent from each regiment, the colonels being admonished 
to select "active and vigilant recruiters who stood high in the esteem 
of the people in the districts in which they were to solicit." 42 These 
officers were under State regulations while on recruiting duty. 43 
Each State selected a general place of rendezvous where recruits 
assembled. The Commander in Chief of the Army sent officers to 
these points to conduct physical examinations and the States were 
called upon to replace all men who were rejected. 44 Each recruit, 
after being attested before a peace officer, a general officer, a judge 
advocate, or deputy judge advocate, was required to sign enlistment 
papers which stated length and conditions of service, the bounty, 
and other requirements "fairly written at length without erasure or 
interlineation so as to prevent all ambiguity, doubt, or dispute." 45 
Recruiting officers were prohibited from exchanging or discharging 
men after enlistment papers had been signed. Training was sup- 
posed to start as soon as the men were enlisted, but training facili- 
ties and competent instructors seldom were available at the rendez- 
vous points. 

Names of the men who assembled in the rendezvous points were 
entered on muster rolls. Officers were appointed to conduct parties 
of recruits to the units to which they were assigned. They were 
instructed to send recruits to the regiments as soon as 8 or 10 men 

40 Allen French, The First Year of the American Revolution (Boston and New York, 
1934), p. 74. 

41 Christopher L. Ward, The Delaware Continentals (Wilmington, 1941), p. 45; Fitz- 
patrick, Writings of Washington, V, p. 295. 

42 Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, III, pp. 334-37. 

43 Ibid,, XXI, p. 186. 

44 Journals of the Continental Congress, XVI, p. 249. 
46 Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, XXI, p. 186. 



were available. 46 These officers carried with them muster rolls for 
the recruits in their parties. Rendezvous points sent weekly rolls 
to State authorities. Recruit rolls specified, in separate columns, 
the name, age, size, trade or profession, place of nativity, place of 
residence, time of enlistment or draft, term of service, bounty, cloth- 
ing, and such other information as was required by military regula- 
tions. 47 

Recruits received sixpence a day for subsistence from the time they 
were recruited until they marched for the camps. They were paid one 
penny per mile for the distance from their homes to the canips of 
the regiments they joined. Drummers and fifers, supposedly boys 
from 15 to 18 years of age, were enlisted separately until December 
of 1781 when it was found that many of the musicians were more able, 
physically, than some of the men doing heavy duty. Thereafter, drum- 
mers and fifers were selected from the ranks. 

Upon their arrival in camp, the recruits frequently were permitted 
to select the regiment from their State in which they desired to serve, 
the only restriction being that they would not be assigned to regiments 
Avhich had no vacancies. 48 

As 1776 drew to a close, the Continental Congress Committee on 
Safety, which had an important role in the control of the Army, real- 
ized that the 1-year enlistments, which had appeared so promising at 
the beginning of the year, would not fulfill the military requirements. 
The Continental Congress proposed that men be enlisted for the du- 
ration of the war. A resolution adopted 27 December 1776 stated: 
"that General Washington be empowered to use every endeavor, by 
giving bounties and otherwise, to prevail upon the troops, whose time 
of enlistment shall expire at the end of this month, to stay with the 
Army so long after that period as its situation shall render their stay 
necessary," 49 

A similar situation developed each year. Many men would not en- 
list in the Continental Army for the duration of the war while it was 
possible for them to enlist in the Militia for shorter periods. On 23 
January 1779, the Continental Congress again urged the Commander 
in Chief to "enlist for the continuation of the war all Continental troops 
not expressly engaged for that period." 50 Washington never over- 
came the disadvantage arising from the continuous turnover of men 
in his battalions due to short enlistments. 

A recommendation which Washington submitted in July of 1777 
proposed that the States divide their territory into recruiting dis- 

iQ Ibid., IV, p. no. 

47 Journals of the Continental Congress, IV, p. 63, 

48 Orderly Booh, XXIII, (18 Apr to 21 Jul 1778), p. 11. Revolutionary War Records. 
National Archives. 

49 Journals of the Continental Congress, VI, p. 1043. 
» IMd., XIII, p. 108. 



tricts and appoint managers in each district. These district mana- 
gers would -have appointed civilian recruiting officers and would have 
supervised efforts to apprehend deserters. 51 The Continental Con- 
gress did not take favorable action on this suggestion and it was not 
carried out by any of the States. Had it been adopted it might have 
relieved the Army of many of its recruiting burdens. 

The Continental Congress, lacking the executive power necessary 
to order either the recruiting or the drafting of men, resorted to calls 
on the State executives, urging them to order Militia officers on re- 
cruiting duty. 52 The Commander in Chief could detach from his force 
officers for recruiting duty and he frequently did so, but such details 
reduced his effective strength. Recruiting officers sometimes were 
criticized for improper conduct. The Continental Congress on 14 
April 1777 asked each State to investigate all officers who were at- 
tempting to enlist men within its borders. 53 On 5 August 1777, the 
Continental Congress complained that several of the States had 
permitted interference with Washington's recruiting officers. 54 

In February of 1779, the battalions of the Continental Army were 
so short of men that the Continental Congress called upon the States 
to draft, for a 9-month period, enough men to bring the organiza- 
tions up to strength. The States refused to invest Congress with the 
power to requisition men or provisions, retaining those powers for 
themselves. Consequently, each Steite could decide for itself the ex- 
tent to which -it would comply with the draft request. In 1780, Vir- 
ginia passed a law to draft every fifteenth man on the militia rolls 
and other States adopted various measures for the drafting of men. 55 

The 1779 reorganizatipn of the Army provided that there would be 
a fall reenlistment campaign which was to be completed by 1 October 
of each year. At the conclusion of this reenlistment drive, the Com- 
mander in Chief would notify the Continental Congress of the number 
of men necessary to fill the battalions from each State, listing the 
number who would be needed to replace estimated losses as of April, 
June, and September. 56 The States would then be called upon to 
raise, by draft or otherwise, the number of men requested. These 
men were to serve only until 1 January of the following year. The 
plan provided for an additional year-end levy to bring all units up to 
strength at the beginning of the year, with the men called under this 
levy to serve for a full year. This plan would have provided Wash- 
ington with the men he needed if the States had fulfilled their parts. 
But the Continental Congress imposed no penalties on the States 

51 Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, IX, pp. 406-407. 

52 Journals of the Continental Congress, XIV, p. 740. 
63 Ibid., VII, 261. 

54 Ibid., VIII, p. 608. 

55 Ibid., XVIII, p. 809. 
B ° Ibid., XV, p. 1358. 



which failed to fill their quotas ; consequently the plan never operated 

On 28 October 1T80, each regiment was given four supernumerary 
officers : a recruiting officer, an adjutant, a quartermaster, and a pay- 
master. 57 The assignment of permanent recruiting officers to regi- 
ments reduced the need for detaching line officers for recruiting duty. 

When the scene of operations shifted to the South in 1780, many 
soldiers had such short periods to serve that it was not considered 
worth while to send them with the main body of the Army. Fur- 
loughs, lasting as long as 3 months, were offered in an effort to induce 
these men to reenlist, but few responded. Many who remained behind 
when the main Army moved into Virginia were discharged before 
their terms expired to save provisions. 58 

During the spring of 1781, the Continental officers placed special 
stress on the training of recruits. New men were instructed without 
arms during the first 8 days after they joined their organizations. 
The large proportion of recruits made it necessary for officers of all 
ranks to devote part of their time to training, since Baron Frederick 
W. A. von Steuben, The Inspector General, believed the training of 
recruits was a task for officers, not for sergeants or corporals. Under 
Steuben's orders, the captains and lieutenants of the Continental Army 
were kept busy giving instruction to the new arrivals in camps. Dur- 
ing an inspection, when a colonel was observed giving instruction to 
a single recruit, Steuben remarked, "I thank God for that!" 59 

After the British captured most of the Virginia troops at Charles- 
ton, that State undertook to raise 5,000 men to serve for 18 months 
to replace the losses. Since the colonels of the 2d, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 
10th, and 11th Regiments had escaped capture, recruits were assigned 
to those units in the order of their numerical sequence, beginning with 
the lowest, giving each regiment up to 504 men. 

The Militia as a Source for Continental Replacements 

ThQ American Militia at the beginning of the Revolutionary War 
had a potential strength of about 200,000 men, plenty of arms, and 
some ammunition. 60 It had a few officers who had gained experience 
by fighting the French and the Indians. Its men knew little about 
drill, but they were familiar with firearms. They were dispersed 
throughout the country so that a considerable force could have been 
raised in any community, and they had determination and fortitude. 

w Ibid., XXII, p. 211. 
m Ibid., XVI, p. 42. 

TO Charles Knowles Bolton, The Private Soldier Under Washington (New York, 1902), 
p. 25; Orderly Book LI (26 Apr to 1 Jul 1781), p. 154. Revolutionary War Records. 
National Archives. 

80 Oliver L. Spaulding, The V. 8. Army in Peace and War (New York, 1937), p. 24. 



Militiamen were useful as light skirmishers, but were difficult to use 
in sustained attack. They could hit, then vanish. Also, they could 
vanish before the blow was struck, to the chagrin of their generals. 

Washington was familiar with the mahy problems arising from the 
use of Militia, and when he took command at Boston he was deter- 
mined to find a solution. The Continental Army, which had its roots 
in the shifting sands of the State forces but which promised to grow 
into the solid trunk of an integrated and united central force, was 
the answer the Commander in Chief gave to the country. 

The transition was not easy. There were almost unsurmountable 
difficulties blocking a central army. Neither officers nor men were 
willing to assume obligations superseding their allegiance to their 
home States. Most of them regarded the Continental Congress as a 
very uncertain source for supplies, rations, pay, or promotions. Many 
feared this "new modeling" would destroy the Army. 61 Washington 
had to overcome this state of mind before he had any success with a 
unified force. 

Washington recognized the Militia of the several States, constitut- 
ing all the men of military age, as the manpower reservoir upon which 
he would have to draw. The records do not reveal any attempt to 
interfere with State authority over the Militia. He intervened only 
after the men he had asked for failed to arrive and then only to chide 
the authorities for their failure. The Continental Army had plenty 
to do without taking over the recruiting of men, then considered 
a State function. Nevertheless the Continentals had to do some 

The Continental Congress first called for 26 battalions for 1776, 
each State to furnish a given quota. On 16 September the number 
was raised to 88 and in December the Congress asked for 16 battalions 
of infantry, to be raised by the country at large, 62 bringing the year's 
total, with 3 other irregular battalions, to 107. The States re- 
sponded to these calls by placing active Militia units on duy and 
sending them to Boston where they were taken into the Continental 
Army. Few States furnished their full quota of battalions. Many 
battalions left recruiting details behind to solicit volunteers from 
men on the Militia rolls because they had departed at little more 
than half strength. Volunteers for the Continental Army for 1776 
generally were enlisted for 1 year ; later the usual enlistment period 
was for 3 years or the duration of the war. The Militia of the States 
were engaged in continuous recruiting campaigns in their efforts to 
fill their units and make up for losses. Few were successful. 

61 Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, IV, p. 83 f. n. 

62 Journals of the Continental Congress, VI, p. 1045. 



The indifferent success of the States in raising their quotas con- 
fronted Washington with another problem. He indicated the solution 
on 23 January 1777 : "The progress in raising recruits for the new 
army being very slow, I have applied . . . for ten regiments of Militia 
to continue in service until the first of next April." 63 Deficiencies in 
the battalions of the Continental Army were made up by calling Militia 
units which became a part of the Continental Army for short periods, 
usually 3, 6, or 9 months. During the greater part of the war, these 
calls were made by the Continental Congress after it received recom- 
mendations from the Army, but for a short time Washington had the 
power to make direct calls upon the States for Militia units. 

The short-term Militia units, upon their arrival in the camp, became 
the targets for intensive recruiting drives by officers of the Continental 
Army. Bounties were offered to the soldier who extended his service 
and to the officer who persuaded him to do so. A general order issued 
from the Headquarters at Cambridge on 9 February 1776 said : "If the 
Militia who are ordered into camp should incline to enter the Con- 
tinental Army, they are immediately to join the regiment they enlist 
into and are from that day to be struck from the Militia rolls." 64 Many 
Continental soldiers were obtained in this way. Kecruiting efforts 
were intensified in units which had been ordered out for brief periods 
and in those which were nearing the end of their service. In August 
1776, Washington advised his officers : "Taking men f rpm the four or 
five months' Militia will not answer our present necessity, as it will not 
add to the number in service ; but of the militia which is only ordered 
for a few days or weeks, you have an undoubted right to take such 
as have a mind to enlist with you." 65 

Practically all infantry in the Continental Army was made up of 
State Militia battalions taken in as units. Even the battalions re- 
cruited at large were carefully credited to State quotas. Eecruiting 
at large caused confusion and for that reason seldom was used. Most 
of the newer cavalry and artillery units were raised under special 
authority of the Continental Congress, some not being credited to 
any State. This was also true of groups like Lt. Col. Henry Lee's 
battalion of Light Dragoons, the German battalion, the two Canadian 
regiments, and other irregular units. There were frequent disputes 
among the States over credit for these organizations. 

The critical shortage of men caused Congress on 3 June 1777 to 
authorize a flying camp of 10,000 men commanded by Brig. Gen. Hugh 
Mercer. 66 The plan was to collect the armed inhabitants into a large 

63 Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, IV, p. 267. 
M Ibid., IV, p. 311. 
« Ibid., V, p. 408. 
»« md., V, p. 87 f . n. 



reserve without enrolling them by means of regular enlistments. Such 
a reserve was needed to protect New Jersey and Philadelphia while 
Washington's attention was centered on New York. The strength of 
the flying camp probably never exceeded 3,000 ; the transitory nature 
of its population reduced its military value. A number of regimental 
commanders asked permission to send recruiting parties to the flying 
camp but were refused by Washington who feared enlisting men from 
a floating population such as the camp contained would confuse State 
quota records. The flying camp was discontinued after the British 
left New York. 

Washington, who was convinced of "the impracticability of raising 
our complement of men by voluntary enlistments," urged the States to 
draft men by calling on "each town . . . for a proportionate number 
of recruits." 67 Many of the States drafted men, the procedures dif- 
fering in accordance with various Militia statutes. Generally, drafted 
men were permitted to hire substitutes. In some States two Militia- 
men could be excused if they hired one substitute. Washington also 
urged State authorities to prevent accumulation of recruits in ren- 
dezvous points. He directed them to combine detachments for the dif- 
ferent regiments, sending men forward as soon as a sufficient number 
were available.* 8 

But many Militia units did not go to the Continental Army. In- 
stead, they functioned under State direction, some in cooperation with 
Washington's troops, others on independent missions. Washington 
protested when New Jersey raised several battalions for its own de- 
fense before it provided the Continental Army with troops that had 
been requested, warning that such practices jeopardized the common 
defense. 69 

The weakness of the Continental Army replacement system was in- 
herent in the loose organization under which the Continental Congress 
recommended quotas but had no power to discipline States that failed 
to meet quotas. Washington wanted each State to furnish its assigned 
number of battalions, then send forward enough men to keep them at 
prescribed strength. The Militia units provided the States with the 
organization necessary to have carried out this plan. Insofar as it 
failed, the failure was due to negligence within the States and the 
inability of Congress to exercise central supervision. In 1780, Wash- 
ington said : "Had we formed a permanent Army in the beginning, 
which by the- continuance of the same men in service, had been capable 
of discipline we never should have had to retreat with a handfull of 

07 ma., iv, p. 185. 

68 Journals of the Continental Congress, VI, p. 1043. 

69 Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, VII, p. 42. 



men across the Delaware." 70 He added : "We have had a great part 
of the time two sets of men to feed and pay, the discharged men going 
home, and the levies coming in." 71 Imperfect as was the execution of 
the Revolutionary War replacement plan, it furnished the men to keep 
the Continental Army in action. Washington attempted to correct the 
deficiencies by improving the organization and functioning, not by 
changing the system. 

[See table 1 for the number of Continentals and Militia in service 
during each year of the Revolutionary War and an estimate of the 
number employed by the States independently. See chart 1 for re- 
placement sources during the war.] 

Table 1 — Troops Furnished in the Revolutionary War, .by Year 1 


Quota 2 

Troops furnished 




Keturns of the Army- 

Militia » 


In Conti- 
nental pay 



( 2 ) 

( 2 ) 

37, 623 

27, 443 

* 27, 443 

10, 180 


( 2 ) 

( 2 ) 

89, 651 

72, 951 

46, 891 

26, 060 

16, 700 



*75, 760 

68, 720 

44, 920 

34, 820 

10, 100 

23, 800 



44, 892 

51, 052 

37, 252 

32; 899 


13, 800 



41, 760 

45, ,184 

32, 834 

27, 699 

5, 135 

12, 350 



41, 760 

42, 826 

26, 826 

21, 015 

5, 811 

16, 000 



33, 408 

29, 340 

20, 590 

13, 292 

7, 298 

8, 750 



33, 408 

18, 006 

14, 256 

( 9 ) 


3, 750 



33, 408 

13, 476 

13, 477 

13, 477 

i The Army in the Northern .Department was discharged on 5 November 1783 and that in the Southern 
Department on 15 November 1783. 

1 Source data contain yearly quotas of battalions -and men beginning with 1777. Battalion strengths 
fixed by quotas were as follows: 680 for 1777, 522 for 1778 to 1780, and 576 for 1781 to 1783. 

t Estimates of additional Militia employed not shown on returns of the Army. 

* Enlisted to serve to 31 December 1775. 

4 Includes 3,000 in addition to total battalion strengths fixed by quota. 
« Not shown separately. 

Source: U. S. Congress, American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress 
of the United States, Military Affairs (Washington, 1832—61), I Doc. No. 3, pp. 14-19, 

™Ibid. } XIX, p. 136; see also John W. Wright, "Some Notes on the Continental Army," 
William and Mary College Quarterly, XI (1931), pp. 81-105, 185-209; XII (1932), pp. 
79-103, 229-250 ; XIII (1933), pp. 85-97. 

71 Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, XIX, pp. 402-413. 















_(Operated^ under _ 
State Supervision) 

When Called 
to Active Duty 
Became Bns.of 


for Continental 



State Control 
Continental Control 





Operating Under 


State Control 




at Large 
by Special 

inental Army 

Calvary 8 








Factors Affecting Replacement Requirements 

The personnel replacement rate is determined by losses to the serv- 
ice so long as the authorized strength of an Army remains constant. 
An organization which loses few men needs few replacements and 
an efficient unit is likely to keep more men than an inefficient one. 
For this reason, administration may become a replacement factor. 

Early in the Revolution, officers of regiments and brigades knew 
little about the internal administration of their organizations. Con- 
tractors who received commissions on the total cost of what they fur- 
nished had slight interest in economy. The enlisted men did not re- 
ceive much more than food and clothing. The Continental Congress, 
which generally could supply only what it had purchased abroad 
with borrowed money, urged the States to supply and equip their 
troops. The Middle and Northern States, containing more manu- 
facturing establishments, could provide more than the agricultural 
South. Lack of central control permitted some States to furnish more 
than others thereby engendering jealousy and discontent and increas- 
ing the desertion rate. 72 

Not all desertions were prompted by lack of supplies or camp dis- 
comforts. There were some who intended to reenlist and collect an- 

72 Ibid., XV, p. 33. 



other bounty. -At Ticonderoga, in 1778, a man was shot after being 
convicted of seven desertions, each followed by a reenlistment for 
which he had collected a bounty. Others intended to take advantage 
of Lord Howe's offer, first of $16 and later of $24 to Continentals 
coming over to the British forces. Washington admitted to the Con- 
tinental Congress on 3 May 1777 that the British offer had a bad 
effect on the American soldiers, especially those not born in America. 73 
There were frequent changes from onk army to the other, men serv- 
ing wherever it appeared most profitable. Nearly all who surrendered 
and returned to the service were pardoned under proclamations simi- 
lar to the one of 24 October 1777, which offered a full and free pardon 
to all who returned by the first of the following January. 74 Similar 
proclamations were issued on 10 March 1779 and 29 August 1780. 75 
After several such offers Washington decided that little good came 
from them and that chronic deserters regarded amnesty proclama- 
tions as a matter of course. 

British newspaper propaganda encouraged desertions from the 
American forces. For example, an article in the Philadelphia Eve- 
ning Post said drafted men would be retained for the full duration 
of the war. This Was branded by general orders published at Valley 
Forge Headquarters on 23 April 1778 as false and misleading and 
as having been inspired by the enemy in an effort, to influence sol- 
diers to desert and to keep others from entering the service. 76 


Washington was not opposed to substitutes ; he believed it was better 
for a private individual to hire a soldier than for the State to collect 
taxes or issue new currency to pay bounties. 77 The practice became 
widespread with many old soldiers offering themselves and frequently 
waiting for high pay. Maj. Gen. John de Kalb believed it was bad 
for the Regular regiments because it prevented them from enlisting 
men. Few would join Continental battalions while the substitutes 
hired by rich citizens could get enormous bounties for a "two months 
walk" as the short enlistments in the Militia were called. 78 

Enlistment of Negroes 

In May 1775, the Massachusetts Committee of Safety opposed ad- 
mitting slaves to the Army. A similar position was taken by the 
council of general officers in October 1775. Washington, noting in a 
general order that a number of free Negroes desired to enlist, gave 

™IUd. 9 VII, p. 8. 
w Ibid,, IX, p. 427. 

« ibid., XIV, p. 222 and XIX, p. 471. 
™ Ibid., XI, p. 299. 

77 Ibid., XVII, p. 133 f . n. 

78 Bolton, op. cif.,p. 62. 



recruiting officers authority to accept them, adding that he would lay 
the matter before Congress. In 1778, Massachusetts voted to raise a 
regiment of Negroes, Mulattoes, or Indians, the sergeants and all 
higher officers to be white. Connecticut also authorized the raising 
of Negro troops ; New Hampshire freed slaves after they had served 
3 years, but the enlistment bounties went to former owners, and a 
Ehode Island regiment of slaves received praise for action on 29 
August 1778 against Hessian troops. The slavery system, in some 
instances, retarded enlistments because the slave owners feared that 
if they entered the military service and left their homes their slaves 
might revolt. 79 

Health and Hospitalization 

The health of the Army, the hospitalization of the troops, and the 
method of return to duty after hospitalization have always had an im- 
portant bearing on replacements. During the Revolution soldiers 
who were ill in camps which lacked medical facilities were permitted 
to go to their homes. After their recovery, they sometimes were slow 
to return. On 21 May 1781, the Commander in Chief took notice of 
this situation by ordering commanding officers of regiments and corps 
to insert advertisements in the newspapers "requiring such of their 
men as are sick or absent ... to join their respective corps or give 
information where they are and the cause of their detention within a 
reasonable time on pain of being treated as deserters." 80 All absent 
officers not on public duty and all soldiers on furlough were ordered 
to join their regiments. Regimental officers were prohibited from 
releasing patients from the hospitals, such releases being valid only 
when ordered by the senior surgeon or director of the hospital. 81 
Surgeons who released convalescent patients on furloughs were 
ordered to furnish certified copies of the furlough papers to command- 
ing officers of the corps or brigade to which the patients belonged. 

The medical committee of the Continental Congress in 1777 con- 
sulted with Washington on "causing such of the troops of the Army 
as have not had the smallpox to be inoculated." 82 An order on 22 
April authorized Dr. James Tilton "to repair to Dumfries, in Virginia, 
there to take charge of all the Continental soldiers who are or should 
be inoculated." 83 Thus began a practice which later became an im- 
portant procedure in replacement installations. 

79 Georgiana Lockwood, "The Negro in the Revolution," National Republic, XXVIII 
(1930), pp. 22-23. 

80 Orderly Booh, LI (26 Apr to 1 Jul 1781), p. 7. Revolutionary War Records. National 

si Orderly Booh, XVI (23 May 1777 to 20 Oct 1778), p. 36. Revolutionary War Records. 
National Archives. 

82 Journals of the Continental Congress, VII, p. 110; Fitzpatrick, Writings of Wash- 
ington, V, p. 83. 

83 Journals of the Continental Congress, VII, p. 292. 

346225 O - 55 - 3 



Replacement of Officers 

Many officers who came into the Continental Army at the begin- 
ning of the war expected temporary service in a short conflict, and they 
did not, at first, pay much attention to their compensation. 84 As the 
conflict dragged on they found commissioned service offered few ad- 
vantages and involved many hardships. Some resigned declaring 
their pay did not meet their needs. But there were times when the 
Continental Congress was besieged by persons who wanted commis- 
sions. The Congress issued all commissions for the Continental Army, 
generally appointing as field officers those who previously had been 
selected by the States in which they resided. 85 In 1776, Congress 
advised the State authorities that it would be better for them to con- 
sult with the generals before appointing or promoting officers, thereby 
giving the military commanders some choice. 

The Commander in Chief appointed a committee of officers and 
vested in them authority to recommend dismissal of supernumerary 
officers who were regarded as unqualified. Military authorities 
could fill vacancies so created by promotion of other officers from the 
same States as the officers dismissed, first notifying the State execu- 
tives who usually submitted recommendations. 86 Military commis- 
sions were filled out at the War Office and attested by the Secretary 
after which they were presented to the President of Congress for his 
signature. 87 After the President signed a commission it was returned 
to the War Office and registered. The commission was valid as soon as 
the seal was affixed by the Board of War. 

Promotions in the Continental Army were regimental to the grade 
of captain ; from captain to brigadier general they were in the line 
of the State ; above brigadier general they were in the line of the Army 
at large. Many resignations from officers were blamed on irregular 
promotions. There were complaints that promotions were not always 
rewards for merit. Washington noted that even when officers admit- 
ted they had gained promotion through favoritism they did not aban- 
don their claim to the higher position. 

Washington told Congress that the officers should be adequately pro- 
vided for, adding that he had found that impoverished officers dis- 
played an apathy and neglect of duty which spread to all ranks. The 
Continental Congress, which always found it difficult to raise money, 
tried to make up for inadequate pay by promising pensions of half pay 
for life to be supplemented with parcels of public land. Dissatisfied 
officers looked with longing at the fortunes which they thought were 
being made by merchants and tradesmen. In an effort to increase 

M Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, X, p. 126. 

85 Louis Clinton Hatch, The Administration of the American Revolutionary Army (New 
York, 1904), p. 41. 

86 Journals of the Continental Congress, XIV, p. 779. 

w ma., xii, p. 29i. 



officer morale, Congress arranged to sell clothing at low prices and 
authorized extra rations, usually of poor quality. 

Rivalry between Continental and Militia officers sometimes inter- 
fered with the filling of vacancies. On 20 May 1777, general orders 
were published directing battalion and brigade commanders to settle 
such disputes whenever possible and in each case to make full reports 
to higher commanders. 88 Those disputes which could not otherwise 
be resolved were brought before a board of officers which in November 
1777 submitted recommendations to Congress specifying the relative 
ranks of the field officers. 

A board of general officers in 1778 decided officers holding Conti- 
nental commissions ranked over those having State commissions so 
long as the regiment of the latter continued in the State establish- 
ments ; but when such regiments became Continental the officers were 
entitled to receive Continental commissions. 89 Promotions in the 
artillery and cavalry were made in the ranks at large without regard 
to States, but the States clung tenaciously to their rights to make 
appointments and promotions in the infantry. 90 

In an effort to prevent an accumulation of officers of unduly high 
rank, staff officers and aides-de-camp were appointed from the line 
except in the office of the Commander in Chief, which needed men with 
special qualifications and took them wherever they could be found. 91 
Although there were frequent warnings against giving commissions 
tQ officers who could not obtain recruits to fill their units, Washington 
cautioned that "commissions in the new Army are not intended merely 
for those who can enlist the most men." 92 Lieutenants and junior 
officers sometimes were accused of lukewarm recruiting efforts be- 
cause they thought failure to enlist quotas might cost the company 
commanders their positions, thereby opening the way for promotions. 93 

Even after the Continental Army had discarded the Militia practice 
whereby the men elected their company officers, many of the officers 
remained dependent upon the good will of their men who, if they dis- 
liked their superiors, might* refuse to reenlist. Many soldiers, espe- 
cially those from New England, had little acquaintance with discipline 
and tended to regard themselves as socially equal or superior to their 
officers. Officers whose commands depended upon the whims of their 
men were not likely to insist upon distinctions of rank. Some officers 
went so far as to pool their pay with their men, all taking an equal 
share. Militiamen sometimes recalled their officers. In one such in- 
stance, a first lieutenant had asked the members of his New Jersey 

88 Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, VIII, pp, 92-94. 
*»Ibid., XXI. p. 25. 

w mo., xxii, p. 46. 

^Ibid., X, p. 378. 
™lbid., IV, p. 56. 
83 Ibid., IV, p. 108. 



platoon if they would excuse him from parade. His request was re- 
fused and a private was elected to take the lieutenant's place, 94 

Few capable artillery or engineer officers were available to the 
Continental Army, but replacing unqualified Americans with quali- 
fied foreigners was not easy. Washington was embarrassed by the 
large number of foreign officers who sought commissions, many of 
them giving exaggerated statements of their abilities. Not all were as 
valuable as Lafayette, von Steuben, or De Kalb. Some of the first 
Frenchmen who applied received high rank as a means of promoting 
the alliance with France. Those coming later expected similar treat- 
ment. Speaking of the many Frenchmen who were pressing their 
claims in 1788, Washington said : "Their ignorance of our language 
and their inability to recruit men are unsurmount^ble obstacles." 95 
American representatives in Europe finally were instructed to make no 
promises of any kind regarding commissions. 

The Corps of Invalids 

Revolutionary authorities were anxious to make use of men who 
had been partially disabled while serving in the Army but were still 
capable of useful work. The Board of War of the Continental Con- 
gress, on 21 April 1777, reported in favor of an 8-company Corps of 
Invalids, and the Congress, on 16 July 1777, approved the organiza- 
tion and named Col. Lewis Nicola as its commander. 96 In addition to 
giving employment to officers, noncommissioned officers, and enlisted 
men who had been wounded but could still work, the corps was to 
provide a "school for young gentlemen previous to their being ap- 
pointed to the marching regiments." 97 This school apparently would 
have had some similarity to the replacement training centers of later 
wars, but the records do not indicate that it functioned. 

Newspaper advertisements informed former soldiers released on 
half pay that if they were capable of garrison duty they could report 
to the nearest Continental field officer, join the corps, and be restored 
to full pay. Discharged hospital patients and others unable to do 
full duty were transferred from the regiments. Corps officers were 
selected for their ability as instructors, and subaltern instructors were 
required to study mathematics in off-duty periods to increase their 
value as teachers. Each officer was asked to donate one day's pay each 
month to buy military texts. Some of the officers were placed on re- 
cruiting duty. Men they enlisted were to receive instruction in mili- 
tary duties before going to regiments, but the records do not indicate 

M Bolton, op. cit., p. 25. 

95 Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, VII, p. 170. 
98 Journals of the Continental Congress, VIII, p. 555. 
» Ibid., VIII, p. 485. 



the recruiting part of the plan was successful. The members of the 
corps spent most of their time doing guard duty. 

General orders of the Army dated 7 August 1779 reminded regi- 
mental commanders that it had been found prejudicial to the service 
to discharge soldiers who were capable of doing duty with the Invalids. 
All discharges for physical reasons were declared void unless they 
contained a military surgeon's certificate stating that not only was 
the discharged man incapable of performing field service, but also that 
he was unable to serve in the Corps of Invalids. 98 

Since the States retained a portion of the control over the Invalids, 
Washington complained in 1781 that he could not issue orders to some 
of the companies on duty in Philadelphia and Boston." The Gover- 
nor of Connecticut wanted control over the services of members of 
the corps from that State, but a committee report to Congress said 
the records did not show the places of enlistment for all the men. Con- 
gress objected to returning men to control of the States from which 
they had enlisted because it feared that to do so would break up the 
corps and disorganize the units to the extent that they would be 
unable to perform any useful service. The extent of State and Fed- 
eral control over the Corps of Invalids was a "subject of contention 
throughout the life of the corps. 

Replacements for the Light Infantry 

The Continental Army in 1775 contained 12 companies of riflemen, 
8 from Pennsylvania and 2 each from Maryland and Virginia, which 
were employed as light infantry. The theory regarding the employ- 
ment of light infantry had developed along with the evolution of 
military tactics which had brought a shift from solid battle lines 
to skirmisher formations. 100 Light companies had appeared in most 
of the armies of Europe. The British in America had learned from 
Braddock's defeat on the Monongahela and had formed light com- 
panies into three battalions, forming a light corps. 101 

Washington had these developments in mind when he looked upon 
his motley assortment of soldiers and wondered what could be done 
to ]j:eep his straggling battalions up to strength. Recruiting from 
the Militia was his principal source of replacements, but it had proved 
a very uncertain source. The Commander in Chief concluded that 
if he could not have all of his Army at full strength the next best 
thing would be to have a part of it at full strength. He therefore 

98 Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, XVI, p. 64. 

w Jbid., XXI, p. 269 ; Journals of the Continental Congress, XIX, p. 265. 

100 Col. John W. Wright, "Light Infantry in the Continental Army," The American 
Historical Review, XXXI (1926), pp. 454-461. 

101 Edward E. Curtis, The Organization of the British Army in the Revolution (New 
Haven, 1926), p. 6. 



decided to provide replacements for a part of his force at the expense 
of the remainder of his force. Each Continental Army battalion 
became a replacement pool for its light infantry company, which 
never was permitted to fall below authorized strength. The modern 
idea, in which a replacement company becomes a pool for a larger 
unit, is a reversal of Washington's practice. 

On 28 August 1777, an order drafted 9 officers and 109 enlisted 
men, including noncommissioned officers, from each of the brigades 
and directed that they be formed into a light infantry corps, replac- 
ing the previous companies of riflemen broken up during the winter. 
This corps was placed under the command of Brig. Gen. William 
Maxwell. In the battle of Brandy wine, 11 September 1777, the Light 
Infantry, retreating from the vicinity of Chester after the British 
turned the American flank, followed the main body of the Army 
and collected the wounded and stragglers. The Light Infantry was 
in reserve at the battle of Germantown, 4 October 1777. Soon after 
that engagement the corps disbanded. 

During the winter of 1777, Congress appointed a committee to go 
to Valley Forge and discuss with Washington the future organiza- 
tion of the Army. Although the regiments were at such low strength 
that they could scarcely stand a draft of men without reducing them 
to mere companies, Washington had made up his mind that he would 
recommend the formation of a corps of light infantry to serve during 
the coming summer. He wanted an organization similar to the light 
infantry corps in the campaigns of the previous year. Officers being 
considered for the command included Col. Daniel Morgan, Col. 
Richard Butler, and Maj. Lewis Morris, Jr., all of whom had served 
under General Maxwell. Col. Henry Beekman Livingston, who 
requested a command, was promised consideration. Assignment to 
the Light Infantry was considered a mark of distinction. 102 

Baron von Steuben, who arrived at Valley Forge in February 1778, 
had had experience with light infantry in Gen. Johann von Mayr's 
"Free Battalion," a part of the army of Prince Henry of Prussia. 
When the time came to reconstitute the light infantry corps in prep- 
aration for the fighting during the summer of 1778, Washington made 
use of Yon Steuben's knowledge. 

The committee that visited Valley Forge accepted Washington's 
recommendation, and the Continental Congress, on 27 May 1778, de- 
creed that each battalion of infantry "shall consist of nine companies, 
one of which shall be of Light Infantry ; the Light Infantry to be kept 
complete by drafts from the battalion, and organized during the cam- 
paign into a corps of Light Infantry." 103 Colonel Morgan held the 

103 Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, X, p. 210. 
103 Journals of the Continental Congress, XI, p. 538. 



Baron von Steuben instructing recruits at Washingto)i's headquarters, 

V alley Forge, 1778. 

command during the summer of 1778 and those officers who had the 
highest standing were assigned to serve under him. 

Commanders of the battalions made periodic reports showing va- 
cancies in the ranks. The reports, indorsed by the light infantry com- 
mander, were sent to the commanding officers of the brigades who 
immediately sent the number of men required to keep the light corps 
at its designated strength. 104 . Battalion commanders were directed 
to be particularly careful in their choice of men for the light infantry 
companies. 105 A general order pointed out, "The honor of a regiment 
and that of its light company are intimately connected." 106 The 
light companies were required to be prepared to move on the shortest 
notice and were excused from all duties except camp or quarters guard. 
During the winter, when the Army was inactive, the light infantry 
companies were disbanded and the men went back to their parent 
units, but in the spring, as soon as plans for the summer campaign 
started, the companies again were constituted. 

At the close of the 1778 campaign, the officers and men of the light 
corps were returned to their respective regiments about 1 December. 107 

104 Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, XV, p. 380. 

105 Ibid., XV, p. 2G5. 
100 Ibid. 

107 Ibid., XIII, p. 346. 



Light infantry companies were drawn out of the Virginia, Maryland, 
and Pennsylvania battalions on 12 June 1779 in preparation for the 
campaigns of that year, but were not taken from the Connecticut bat- 
talions until 11 July. 

On 1 July 1779, Washington placed Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne in 
charge of the Light Infantry, and the new commander took over the 
four battalions which had been assembled under Colonel Butler at 
Fort Montgomery. 108 Colonel Morgan, disappointed because the 
command had been given to another, offered his resignation to Con- 
gress on 18 July 1779. It was not accepted. The corps was given the 
mission of opposing any move the enemy might make, and the re- 
maining battalions were drawn together as rapidly as possible. Gen- 
eral Wayne was directed to engage trusty persons to go within the 
enemy lines as spies. 

The new Light Infantry commander stressed the importance of dress 
and appearance. Washington promised that the troops in the light 
companies would receive a good supply of clothing, but at the same 
time pointed out that morale might suffer if the light infantryman 
received preferential treatment in comparison with others. On 16 July 
1779, two weeks after General Wayne's appointment, the Light In- 
fantry, attacking with fixed bayonets and unloaded muskets, surprised 
the sentries at Stony Point, N. Y., in a night operation and captured 
the fort. On 30 November 1779, the members of the Light Infantry 
were instructed to return to their respective regiments, but to be ready 
to form again within one day's notice. Before all the companies had 
broken up, the order was countermanded — it had been decided that 
some of the units should remain in position while there was any threat 
from the British in New York. All were returned to their respective 
battalions by 15 December. 109 

Orders to constitute the corps of light infantry for the campaign of 
1780 were issued 16 July 1780, but because it was necessary to reduce 
the strength of the companies they were formed with 1 captain, 1 
lieutenant or ensign, 3 sergeants, 1 drum, 1 fife, and 20 rank and file. 110 
The men selected were "of a middle size, active, robust and trusty." 111 
The first 20 in each company were old soldiers, but recruits were added 
later as the companies were increased to 42 men. The corps assembled 
for a grand parade and was inspected by The Inspector General and 
his assistants, who rejected any man they considered unfit. By 1 Au- 
gust, Washington had determined that the corps would play an im- 
portant part in the campaign against New York, and he offered the 
command to Maj. Gen. Marie Joseph Marquis de Lafayette, who took 

108 Ibid., XV, p. 354. 

109 Ibid., XVII, p. 270. 
™>Ibi&., XIX, p. 188. 
U1 Ibid. 



over from Brig. Gen. Arthur St. Clair on 8 August. 112 The two bri- 
grades of light infantry were formed into a division which served as 
the advance corps of the Army. 

On 26 November 1780, the corps of light infantry was dissolved and 
the troops returned to their respective regiments. The Commander in 
Chief expressed his thanks to the Marquis de Lafayette and to the of- 
ficers and men under his command for their excellent order and sol- 
dierly disposition, but he regretted there had been no opportunities 
that year for the marquis and his corps to make use in combat of their 
ardor. 113 

The order to form the light infantry ^companies for the campaign 
of 1781 was issued 1 February, in contrast to the late date of the pre- 
vious year. Washington again called upon regimental commanders 
to exert themselves "to make a judicial choice for the formation of 
the companies." 114 An assistant inspector general reviewed each com- 
pany and rejected all men not considered suitable, an indication of 
the importance which con Steuben placed on the corps. The principle 
of rotation generally was followed in the appointment of officers, and 
many new names appeared on the list of battalion and company com- 

Each regiment with more than 225 rank and file fit for duty, includ- 
ing those on furlough, gave a full ninth of its total strength, instead 
of 25 men as had been required the previous year. By 15 February, 
the light infantry companies were increased to 55 men. Regiments 
which had been under 225 contributed their proportionate number as 
they were increased in strength. It was necessary to keep State lines 
distinct, and the Commander in Chief prohibited assignment of men 
belonging to one State into regiments assigned to the quota of another 

The effectiveness of this system was demonstrated in the attack on 
two redoubts of the enemy line during the siege of Yorktown on "the 
night of 14 October 1781. The American Light Infantry under the 
Marquis de Lafayette attacked on the right while a detachment of 
French Grenadiers and Chasseurs commanded by Major General the 
Baron Viomenil attacked on the left. The troops advanced under fire 
from the enemy without returning a shot and used their bayonets to 
capture the outer positions from which they were able to enfilade the 
enemy's lines. 115 The British garrisons at Yorktown and Gloucester 
surrendered 19 October 1781. 

The achievements of Washington's Light Infantry indicate that a 
skillful commander, by the judicious distribution of replacements, may 

™ IMd., XIX, p. 295. 
^IMd., XX, p. 402. 
m Ibid., XXI, p. 169. 
™lUd. f XXIII, p. 228. 



strengthen that part of his force which is to carry the burden of the 
action. The Light Infantry formed an advance corps for the Revolu- 
tionary Army. Its position was nearest the enemy. It bore the brunt 
of the attack and became the rear guard when the Army was forced 
to retreat. It had no replacement difficulties because it could draw 
on the other units for the men it needed. It became a hard core which 
sustained the withering Continental Army and gave the Commander 
in Chief one organization which always was up to strength. 

Replacements for the Peace Establishment 

The military policy of the United States started to take form fol- 
lowing the Revolution. The conflict between Federal and State con- 
trol had its counterpart in k dispute between proponents of the Mi- 
litia and supporters of the Regular Army, The opponents of a large 
Federal army wanted to garrison the posts and guard the magazines 
with as few men as possible. A Continental Congress committee con- 
sisting of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Oliver Ellsworth, 
James Wilson, and Samuel Hilton reported in favor of four regiments 
of infantry, one of artillery, and a corps of engineers, but their views 
met with much opposition. 116 Congress might have long delayed any 
decision on the controversial national defense question had not the 
Indians forced the issue. The attitude of the tribes in the Northwest 
soon indicated a need for troops. 

The military forces in service on 29 January 1784 consisted of one 
regiment of infantry commanded by Brig. Gen. Henry Jackson and 
a corps of artillery containing 120 men. One company was guarding 
public stores at Springfield, Mass., a detachment of artillery was sta- 
tioned at Albany, N. Y., and an infantry company plus a small de- 
tachment of artillery was at New York. The remainder of the In- 
fantry and Artillery was at West Point. 117 

The Federal Government had little money to pay soldiers, a situa- 
tion which gave opponents of a Regular Army a strong argument. 
They won a victory when the Continental Congress on 2 June 1784 
ordered the commanding officer of the Army to discharge all the sol- 
diers except 25 privates at Fort Pitt and 55 at West Point. A pro- 
portionate number of officers was retained, but none above the grade 
of captain. 118 

Two days after it had reduced the number of enlisted men in the 
Regular Army to 80, the Continental Congress was confronted with 
the necessity of guarding the western posts. In April, a committee 
had urged early occupation of military installations at Niagara, Os- 

118 Journals of the Continental Congress, XXV, pp. 722-729. 
117 Ibid, XXVI, p. 54. 
11R Tbid.. XXVII, p. 524. 



wego, Erie, and Detroit and had suggested that an early decision be 
reached regarding the proposed occupation of Michilmackinac with 
troops. The committee believed 3 battalions of infantry and 1 of ar- 
tillery would be needed, and it suggested that the states be called upon 
to raise 896 men. 119 Congress thereupon requested that the States 
provide 700 Militia, but the call, opposed by New York, did not bring 
the desired response. 

The legislative body on 12 April 1785 again issued a call for men, 
requesting the Northern States with exposed frontiers to furnish 700, 
this time for Federal service. Quotas were : Pennsylvania, 260 ; Con- 
necticut, 165 ; New York, 165 ; and New Jersey, 110. The Secretary 
at War was instructed to designate appropriate places for rendezvous 
and to form 8 companies of infantry and 2 of artillery. The period 
of enlistment was 3 years. 120 

The power of the Continental Congress was limited to making reso- 
lutions which had no effect until the States passed legislation pro- 
viding for the enlistment of the men. About 400 recruits were en- 
gaged in 1785 and about 180 in 1786, after which the Government 
had no more funds and enlistments were discontinued. All were sent 
to posts on the Ohio with the exception of 1 officer, 1 sergeant, and 
15 privates who were added to the garrison at West Point. 

The Continental Congress, in view of the fact that the terms of the 
soldiers enlisted in 1785 soon would expire, on 3 October 1787 passed 
additional legislation. State quotas were continued in the same pro^ 
portion as in the previous call. A resolution called upon the States 
to reenlist as many men as possible, then to obtain recruits to fill 
remaining vacancies. Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania 
passed legislation authorizing reenlistments and Brevet Brig. Gen. 
Joseph Harmar, commanding the Army, reported that by 15 June 1788 
reenlistments had numbered 171. These three States then sent 250 
recruits. New York failed to pass the necessary legislation. 121 

The two companies of artillery had lost heavily by desertions and 
were unable to get replacements. They were understrength to the 
extent that they could not be used on the frontier although on 1 May 
1787 they had been recruited to 70 men each. The two units were com- 
bined and retained at West Point. Irregular payments and inequali- 
ties in terms of service were blamed for the high desertion rate, but 
a report submitted in October 1788 noted that the troops generally had 

™IMd., XXVI, pp. 163-205. 

120 Ibid., XXVIII, p. 247. 

121 Ibid,, XXXIV, p. 578. 



been paid to the first of January 1787 and that the officers had re- 
ceived subsistence and forage money to April 1788. The report added 
that "both officers and soldiers appear well satisfied/' a conclusion diffi- 
cult to understand in view of the low strength. 122 

The Constitution, adopted in 1789, placed in Congress the power to 
"raise and maintain armies," but the Nation continued to distrust a 
standing military force. By that time, 5 military posts in the West 
were garrisoned by a force of about 600 men under General Harmar. 
All of these soldiers had been enlisted to serve until June 1791, except 
68 in 2 companies whose services were to expire in 1792. In addition 
to the troops in the West, 2 companies, totaling about 76 men, were 
guarding supplies in the Eastern States. The entire military organ- 
ization, which was authorized 840 enlisted men, needed 168 to bring 
it to full strength. Regimental recruiting officers were attempting to 
enlist these men. 123 

There was an urgent need for replacements during the conflicts 
with the Indians in 1790 and for several years thereafter. Hostilities 
with the Creek tribe in Georgia were settled temporarily by a treaty 
of peace on 7 August 1790, but in September General Harmar, with 
320 Regular Army troops and about 1,100 Militia from Pennsylvania 
and Kentucky, moved against about 1,500 northern Indians, who were 
in open warfare against the United States. After Harmar lost in a 
clash with the Miami tribe, Congress authorized the President to raise 
2,000 men for 6 months. 124 Few responded to this call. When Brig. 
Gen. Arthur St. Clair in May of 1791 arrived at Fort Washington on 
the Ohio he found only 85 privates fit for duty. His contemplated 
action was delayed as a result of this lack of men. It was the end of 
July before about 2,000 replacements arrived, many coming «f rom 
frontier communities in Pennsylvania, Virginia, or Kentucky. Some 
of the difficulties encountered in raising men were blamed on St. Clair's 
lack of popularity in the frontier communities. After the force was 
organized it took the field but met disaster on the Wabash River, 4 
November 1791. 125 

Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne routed the Indians near the Maumee 
River and gained possession of the territory in August of 1793, but 
the campaign left his forces understrength. The first intensive re- 
cruiting drive for the United States Army was conducted to raise men 

™Ibid. } XXXIV, p. 582. 

123 American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, p. 5. 

124 Act of March 3, 1791, "Addition to the Army of the United States and Provisions 
for Protection of the Frontiers," 1st Cong. 1st Sess. Copy in U. 8. Statutes at Large, 
I, ch. 28, sec. 8, p. 222. 

125 James Ripley Jacobs, The Beginning of the 77. S. Army, 1788-1812 (Princeton, 1947), 
p. 77 ; Kentucky, Federal Writers Project, Military History of Kentucky (Frankfort, 1939), 
p. 61 ; Frost, op. tit., pp. 246-54 ; American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, pp. 20, 36, 
39, and 41. 



for this force. A report of the Secretary of War, outlining the situa- 
tion, said : 

. . . this force under General Wayne is much lessened by the expiration of the 
service of his troops, and is inferior to the demands of the existing circum- 
stances. Unless, therefore, he be reinforced early in the ensuing spring the 
advantages which he has gained in the course of the present year, which ought 
to be permanently secured, might be in danger of being relinquished. 

The experiments which have recently been made to engage men for military 
service, on the present inducements, evince decisively that no expectation can 
be indulged of completing the numbers authorized by law without further en- 
couragement. 126 

The Militia Act of 8 May 1792 127 was beginning to affect the Kegular 
Army. The Revolution had demonstrated that the Militia was of 
great value as a source for Continental Army replacements, but 10 
years after the Revolution the Nation's legislators had forgotten that 
lesson. The Militia Act of 8 May 1792 divorced the Militia from the 
Regular Army, giving control of the former to the States. It closed 
the door on the Militia manpower reserve and left regimental recruit- 
ing as the only means available for the Regular Army to fill its ranks. 
Measures introduced 2 years earlier by Secretary of War Henry Knox 
would have given a greater degree of Federal supervision and con- 
trol, but they were lost in the long period of debate which preceded 
the adoption of the bill, 128 Regimental commanders were forced 
to assume full responsibility for the replacement system, with only 
occasional displays of interest from Army headquarters in the form 
of recruiting literature, calls for reports, and general regulations. 

Regimental commanders designated recruiting parties, usually con- 
sisting of an officer, musicians, and a few other soldiers, who traveled 
from village to village urging the local inhabitants to enlist. Re- 
cruiting was no easy task. A soldier's life was hard, and he opposed 
Indians who were skillful fighters. Promised supplies and equip- 
ment often were not furnished. Recruiting parties learned that the 
aimless drifters were more easily attracted because their own poverty 
magnified the little that the Army offered. The unfortunate re- 
sponded most readily to the beat of drums and the display of colors. 
Many of those who joined were immigrants, sailors who had missed 
their ships, debtors seeking to avoid jail sentences, or hangers-on 
around the grogshops. 

On 5 June 1794, the strength of the Legion of the United States, 129 
as the military forces were designated from 1792 until 1796, was 3,578, 

^American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, p. 68. 

127 Act of May 8, 1792, "An Act More Effectually to Provide for the National Defense by 
Establishing an Uniform Militia Throughout the United States," 2d Cong., 1st Sess. Copy 
in U. S. Statutes at Large, I, ch. 33, p. 271. 

128 Brig. Gen. John McAulay Palmer, Washington, Lincoln, Wilson (New York, 1930), 
p. 127. 

529 Act of May 30, 1796, "An Act to Ascertain and Fix the Military Establishment of 
the United States/ 1 4th Cong., 1st sess. Copy in U. S. Statutes at Large, I, ch. 39, p. 483. 



or 1,542 less than the authorized 5,120. A report 5 months later 
showed a strength of 3,629, a slight improvement but not enough to 
indicate that the recruiting efforts were satisfactory. The report 
the following year showed a net loss of 401 men. 

Congress in February 1796 noted the absence of hostilities on the 
Indian frontiers and at the same time estimated that losses through 
expiration of terms of service and other causes would reduce the 
Army to 3,004 men by 1 July. A committee appointed to study the 
military establishment reported that a force of this size would be 
sufficient to meet the country's needs. It recommended four regi- 
ments of infantry and a corps of artillerists and engineers, with a 
brigadier general in command and five lieutenant colonels in charge 
of the regiments. 130 

The committee had scarcely completed this encouraging report when 
threat of trouble with France gave President John Adams a different 
view of the defense picture. Washington again became Commander 
in Chief of the Army, but actual command was delegated to two major 
generals, Alexander Hamilton and Charles C. Pinckney. President 
Adams in May of 1797 recommended an increase in the military 
forces. 131 Congress passed three measures intended to meet the emer- 
gency. The first, 132 approved 28 May 1798, empowered the President 
to raise a provisional army of 10,000 men to serve for 3 years and to 
accept such volunteer companies as were deemed necessary. No 
troops were to be raised under this act unless the President considered 
the situation sufficiently serious to warrant such action. The legisla- 
tion remained in effect until 1802 when it was repealed. None of the 
troops it authorized was raised. The second measure, 133 passed 16 
July 1798, gave the President authority to raise 12 regiments of in- 
fantry and 6 troops of light dragoons to serve for the duration of 
the trouble with France. These regiments were formed and some 
recruited to near their authorized strength of 600 enlisted men, The 
third measure 134 affecting replacements, passed 2 March 1799, pro- 
vided that in the event of war the President could increase the Regular 
Army to 24 regiments of infantry, a regiment and a battalion of rifle- 
men, a battery of artillery and engineers, and 3 regiments of cavalry. 
None of these additional Regular Army forces was formed. 

Hamilton assumed direct supervision of the recruiting service dur 
ing the formation of the 12 new regiments authorized in 1798. Each 

130 American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, p. 112. 

131 "Message of the President of the United States to the Congress," May 16, 1797, in 
U. S. Annals of Congress (5th Cong., 1st Sess.), VII, p. 54. 

la 2 Act of May 28, 1798, "An Act Authorizing the President of the United States to 
Raise a Provisional Army," 5th Cong., 2d Sess. Copy in U. 8. Statutes at Large, I, ch. 47, 
p. 558. 

1 33 Act of July 16, 1798, "An Act to Augment the Army of the United States and, for 
Other Purposes/' 5th Cong., 2d Sess. Ibid., ch. 76, p. 604. 

ia *Act of March 2, 1799, "An Act Giving Eventual Authority to the President of the 
United States to Augment the Army," 5th Cong., 3d Sess, Ibid., ch. 31, p. 725. 



State was divided into as many recruiting districts as there were 
companies to be raised in it, and each company was allocated a dis- 
trict. The districts were grouped, and there was one rendezvous point 
in each district. Field officers were placed in charge of district 
groups. 135 

Hamilton's energetic measures counteracted the slowness in delivery 
of supplies and other recruiting difficulties. By 31 October 1799, 
North Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware had enlisted small detach- 
ments of recruits, who marched from Norfolk, Va., Fredericktown, 
Md., and West Point, N. Y., to reinforce the western posts. Reenlist- 
ments among soldiers serving in those posts were delayed because 
clothing and bounty money did not arrive, but these essentials eventu- 
ally were provided and commanding officers reported they had lost 
few men. 

Recruiting for the 12 new regiments continued until 1800 when it 
was suspended in the belief that the international situation no longer 
was sufficiently serious to justify additional military forces. The men 
in service had received their bounty money and clothing and were 
employed on the fortifications, on the posts, or improving the harbors. 
It was decided that they could be retained until their enlistments 
expired. Had an attempt been made to recruit all the units provided 
for under the legislation of 1798 it probably would have disclosed that 
regimental recruiting would break down in the event of an emergency. 
Since the augmentation of the Army was limited to the 12 new regi- 
ments, the deficiencies of the recruiting services were not made appar- 
ent until the outbreak of the War of 1812. 

For the year 1802 the authorized military peace establishment 136 
was fixed at approximately 5,000 officers and enlisted men, but more 
than 1,300 were needed to complete the establishment. The 4 regi- 
ments of infantry were reduced to 2, but in 1808 Congress approved 
an increase to 5 regiments of infantry, 1 regiment of riflemen, 1 regi- 
ment of light artillery and 1 regiment of light dragoons, with men 
enlisted for 5 years. 137 Some success was achieved in the recruiting 
for these regiments, and for another "additional military force" dis- 
tinct from the "peace establishment," authorized at that time. 

When there was a threat of trouble with Spain in 1809, most of 
these units were ordered to the vicinity of New Orleans, arriving there 
between 10 March and 20 April. From June until September, the 
Army encamped 15 miles below New Orleans, suffering heavy losses 

136 Henry Cabot Lodge, The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1904), 
VII, p. 16. 

138 American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, p. 154. 

137 "An Act to Raise for a Limited Time an Additional Military Force," 10th Cong., 1st 
Sess., copy in U. S. Statutes at Large, II, ch. 43, p. 481. 



from disease and desertion. The troops moved upriver to Natchez for 
the winter. Each company ordered to New Orleans left one subaltern 
at its home station for recruiting duty. Men who enlisted on the 
east coast assembled at the principal ports on the Atlantic, while those 
who enlisted in the Western States assembled at points along the rivers, 
most of them reporting to Newport Barracks, Ky. Some of those 
who enlisted in the interior of Pennsylvania or Virginia moved south 
on the western rivers. 138 

As the Nation drifted toward war, Congress called for 100,000 
Militia 139 and an indefinite number of ranger companies. 140 It passed 
other legislation intended to strengthen the military forces, but the 
army the legislation called for remained mostly on paper. The Regi- 
mental Recruiting Service, which for 20 years had supported an army 
of about 3,000 men, was not capable of the quick expansion necessary 
to carry out the augmentation Congress contemplated. On 24 Decem- 
ber 1811, the legislative body passed "An Act for Completing the 
Existing Military Establishment, 5 ' which was an admission that the 
"existing" military establishment in fact did not exist. Recruits 
were offered a $16 bounty for a 5-year enlistment and promised 120 
acres of land upon discharge. The offer may have been liberal enough, 
but as the regiments moved away from their home rendezvous the 
only recruiting agency in existence lost contact with the centers of 
population from which most of the recruits must come. In 1812, the 
Nation had on paper a Regular Army which probably would have 
been sufficient for its mission, but the troops actually in service were 
far short of the legal authorization. 

The War of 1812 

The Congress of the United States on 18 June 1812 declared that a 
state of war existed with Great Britain 141 and the President called 
upon the Army to invade Canada. During the War of 1812, the 
main developments bearing on replacements were : 

1. The Regimental Recruiting Service failed to furnish the Regular 
Army with enough men at the proper time. This failure was a major 
factor in the lack of success which attended military operations in 

2. Militia and Volunteer units, which had first claim on manpower 
under the Militia Act of 1792, were called upon to supplement the 

138 American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, p. 249. 

139 Act of March 30, 1808, "An Act Authorizing a Detachment from the Militia," 10th 
Cong., 1st Sess., copy in U. 8. Statutes at Large, II, ch. 39, p. 478. 

140 Act of January 11, 1812, "An Act to Raise an Additional Military Force," 12th Cong., 
1st Sess. Ibid., ch. 11, p. 671. 

141 Act of June 18, 1812, "An Act Declaring War Between the United Kingdom of Great 
Britain and Ireland and the Dependencies Thereof, and the United States of America and 
Their Territories," 12th Cong., 1st Sess. IMd., ch. 102, p. 755. 



Regular Army. [See chart The organization of these Militia 
and Volunteer units was not suitable for them to engage in operations 
outside the United States. 

3. The Regular Army, which did not give adequate training to its 
own recruits, lacked the authority, the facilities, and the initiative to 
properly supervise the training of the Militia and Volunteers. There 
was no adequate system for the classification, training, or assignment 
of recruits. 







Drafted Men 8 

Militia Regiments 



on Active Duty 






Federal Control 

State Control 

*• Replacement Flow 

4. The traditional distrust of a standing military force, a strong 
factor in the country and in Congress as late as 1812, along with the 
unpopularity of the war in some sections, blocked proposed reforms 
which might have given the Nation an effective Army with adequate, 

Congress on 11 January 1812 passed a measure to strengthen the 
Regular Army. 142 This act provided for 17 regular regiments of 
infantry, 4 of artillery, 2 of dragoons, 1 of riflemen, and a corps of 
engineers. Each infantry regiment at full strength was authorized 
1,800 privates, each artillery regiment 1,440, and the regiments of 
dragoons 960 each, in addition to noncommissioned officers and 
musicians. The authorized strength of the Army under this act was 

!* 2 Act of January 11, 1812, "An Act to Raise an Additional Military Force," 12th Cong., 
1st Sess. IUd., ch. 14, p. 671. 

346225 O - 55 - 4 



more than 35,000, but at the time of the declaration of war the actual 
military strength was only about 6,700. 

Fifteen of the new regiments, including 10 companies of rangers, 
were in existence by 10 June 1812, when a reorganization made the 
regiments uniform with 10 companies each. Surplus companies were 
formed into new regiments, bringing the total of infantry regiments 
to25. 143 

The Regular military establishment during the War of 1812 con- 
sisted of the Corps of Engineers, a regiment of light artillery, the 
1st and 2d Light Dragoons, the 1st to 3d Artillery, the 1st to 25th 
Infantry Regiments, and a rifle regiment. The Regular Army also 
included the 20 additional regiments authorized under the Act of 29 
January 1813, which were designated as the 26th to 44th Regiments of 
Infantry. The Rangers likewise were part of the Regular Army. 
The United States Volunteers included a regiment from Maine and 
New Hampshire, 2 fronvNew York, 1 from Virginia, 1 from Missis- 
sippi territory, 1 from Louisiana, and the Sea Fencibles. Militia units 
were called to duty from time to time. 144 

The understrength and poorly trained Regular Army, the only mili- 
tary force free from restrictions against offensive operations outside 
the country, not only was short of men but its disposition was defen- 
sive, with units scattered from Detroit to Lake Champlain. Seven reg- 
iments of the Infantry were guarding the frontier ; most of the Artil- 
lery was on the eastern coast, and the regiment of Dragoons, doing 
duty as foot troops, was assigned to the western outposts. The re- 
mainder of the regiments authorized by law were in the process of 
organization in June of 1812. The Army could not present an effec- 
tive force at any point. 

Proponents of a strong Federal force contended an invasion of 
Canada would be the most effective defense of the frontier. This view 
was expressed by Representative John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. 
In an address to Congress, he recognized the people's aversion to an 
offensive war, but he declared the motive, not the location, determined 
the difference between offensive and defensive war. Calhoun told 
Congress that an invasion to repel insult, injury, or oppression was 
not motivated by ambition, avarice, or greed, and for that reason would 
be a defensive rather than an offensive move. 145 The opponents of 
military operations by the Regulars were not convinced. They said 
a force large enough to conquer Canada would, in turn, enslave the 
United States. 146 The conflict between these two factions exerted con- 

143 American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, p. 383. 
u * Ibid., I, p. 384. 

115 U. S. Congress, Abridgement of the Debates in Congress from 1789 to 1865 (New 
York, 1857-61), V, p. 149. 
™*Ibid., IV, pp. 628-632. 



siderable influence on the organization of the military forces, but the 
war group was not strong enough to reform the Army. 

Regardless of this understrength and dispersion of the military 
forces, many Congressmen and the War Department believed the 
Regular Army could invade Canada, which was protected only by 
four British Regular regiments, a small detachment of artillery, and 
a few other units with total strength of about 4,500 men. This force 
would be augmented by such Canadian Militia units as were avail- 
able. 147 

The Secretary of War, on 4 April 1813, indicated that the Regular 
Army was expected to furnish most of the troops that would move 
against Canada. He said : "When the legislature at their last session 
adopted the measure augmenting the Army to 52 regiments of the 
line, it was expressly in view of suspending the necessity of employ- 
ing Militia excepting in moments of actual invasion." 148 More than 
a year later, on 17 October 1814, the War Department still believed 
the Regular Army could furnish troops for operations in Canada. 
Acting Secretary of War J ames Monroe said : "It will be necessary 
to bring into the field next campaign not less than 100,000 Regular 
troops. Such a force, aided in extraordinary emergencies by Volun- 
teers and the Militia, will place us above all inquietude as to final 
results." 149 

The United States was divided into 10 military departments, each 
of which became a Regular Army recruiting unit containing one 
principal rendezvous and such minor depots as higher commanders 
prescribed. 150 Each department commander was responsible for the 
recruiting service within his department. Weekly reports by recruit- 
ing officers showed the strength of their parties and the names and 
descriptions of recruits. Regiments conducted their recruiting 
within assigned areas and the men who had been enlisted by the 
officers of one regiment could not be transferred to another regiment 
without the written consent of both commanding officers, unless the 
transfer was ordered by the War Department. Bounties were 
increased from $16 and 100 acres of land at the beginning of the 
war to $125 and 320 acres of land at the close of the war. Local 
communities frequently paid bounties or contributed funds and 
equipment in addition to what was paid by the Federal Government. 

Regimental recruiting required the distribution of public money 

147 William James, Military Occurrences of the Late War Between Great Britain and the 
United States (London, 1818), I, p. 55. 

us American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, p. 453 ; Emory Upton, The Military Policy 
of the United States (Washington, 1917), p. 107. Upton calls this a change of policy; 
actually it was an attempt to follow a policy which had to be abandoned when Regular 
troops were not available. 

349 American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, p. 515. 

150 Ibid., I, p. 432. 



to a large number of recruiting officers. But it was difficult to account 
for all the sums advanced. In an effort to simplify accounting and 
more clearly define the chain of responsibility, one recruiting officer 
was appointed in each regiment and the former practice of dividing 
this duty among all the officers was discontinued. Department com- 
manders also appointed field grade officers to supervise regimental 
recruiting activities within the departments. 151 

In January 1814, commanders of regiments and corps received 
large sums to be used in reenlisting men whose terms of service were 
about to expire and in recruiting new men. This money was further 
distributed among company commanders. Some members of Con- 
gress believed the recruiting service received sufficient money to pay 
the authorized bounties and premiums, but doubted that the geo- 
graphical distribution had produced the maximum number of enlist- 
ments. Recruiting was more productive where there were large num- 
bers of men of military age and where the war was popular. Many 
persons believed most of the money should have been spent in com- 
munities which met both of these requirements. Regular Army regi- 
ments generally were not so located as to provide effective distribution 
of recruiting funds. 

On 28 March 1812, The Inspector General ordered commanding 
officers of recruiting departments to report monthly, but during April 
Department No. 5 (New York and Connecticut) made the only re- 
sponse. In May, 9 of the 48 districts within the 10 military depart- 
ments made incomplete returns. By 5 June, The Inspector General 
still did not have sufficient information to satisfy Congress, which was 
becoming impatient for the figures. Therefore, on 8 June, Secretary 
of War Eustis ventured a guess. He told Congress 5,000 of the 25,000 
men authorized by law had been recruited. The next day letters 
arrived from Generals Dearborn and Bloomfield giving some favor- 
able but very general remarks about recruiting. These letters gave the 
Secretary added confidence and he sent a second message further 
supporting his guess of the previous day. 152 

President James Madison, in his message to Congress on 5 Novem- 
ber 1812, -called attention to the "insufficiency of existing provisions 
for filling up the military establishment." He speculated on the rea- 
son for the failure to get recruits, saying : 

Such is the happy condition of our country, arising from the facility of the 
subsistence and the high wages for every species of occupation that notwith- 
standing the augmented inducements provided at the last session, a partial 
success only has attended the recruiting service. The deficiency has been 
necessarily supplied during the campaign by other than regular troops, with 
all the inconveniences and expense incident to them. The remedy lies in estab- 

i5i Abridgement of the Debates in Congress, IV, p. 612. 
162 American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, p. 320. 



lishing more favorably for the private soldier, the proportion between his 
recompense and the terms of his enlistment. 153 

Commanders in the field realized that Militia and Volunteer units 
would have to make up Regular Army recruiting shortages. On 10 
April 1812, the President was authorized to call upon the States and 
Territories for their respective proportions of a detachment of 100,000 
Militia. 154 The Ohio and Kentucky Militia, experienced Indian 
fighters, were the principal available trained forces of any size. These 
troops, with the 4th U.S. Infantry, and a few units detached from 
other organizations, were under the leadership of the governor 
of Michigan Territory, William Hull, who had been appointed a briga- 
dier general in the Eegular Army. After cutting a road through 
200 miles of wilderness, they reached Detroit 5 July 1812. From there 
they advanced into Canada, only to retreat again and surrender at 
Detroit 16 August 1812. In Ohio and Kentucky this defeat was fol- 
lowed by a rush of men to volunteer, so many turning out that they 
could not all be accepted by Maj. Gen. W. H. Harrison, who was given 
the command succeeding Hull. 155 Brig. Gen. Stephen van Rensselaer 
collected 2,500 New York Militia and 450 Regulars at Lewiston. In 
the Northern Department, Maj. Gen. Henry Dearborn's force included 
a large number of Militia. 156 

Under the Militia Law as it existed at the beginning of the war men 
who joined the Regular Army, or any Federal force, could have been 
charged with desertion from the Militia, a situation corrected by a law 
passed 20 January 1813. 157 Massachusetts and Connecticut were so 
firm in their belief that the Militia could not be used except to repel 
invasion that they refused to honor General Dearborn's first requisi- 
tion for Militiamen to replace the Regular Army units being with- 
drawn to make up the invasion army. 158 This problem was not solved 
during the war. The Hartford Convention, in January 1815, 
demanded that Congress empower each State to raise and direct armies 
independent of Federal authority, a demand which reflected the state 
of public opinion although the proposal did not receive serious con- 
sideration in Congress. The right of the President to call Militia 
troops on his own decision that an emergency existed was not fully 
established until upheld by a Supreme Court decision in 1827. 159 

153 Abridgement of the Debates in Congress, IV, p. 568. 

154 Act of April 8, 1812, "An Act in Addition to the Act entitled 'An Act to Raise an 
Additional Military Force 1 passed January the Eleventh, One Thousand Eight Hundred 
and Twelve," 12th Cong., 1st Sess. Copy in U. S. Statutes at Large, II, ch. 54, p. 704. 

lfis Frost, op. cit., p. 260. 

159 American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, pp. 439-488. 

167 Act of January 20, 1813, "An Act Supplementary to the Act entitled 'An Act for the 
More Perfect Organization of the Army of the United States,' " 12th Cong., 2d Sess. Copy 
in Z7. S. Statutes at Large, II, ch. 12, sec. 6, p. 791 ; Upton, op. cit., p. 107. 

168 American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, pp. 319-26. 
159 Upton, op. cit., p. 97. 



When a Militia call failed to bring out enough volunteers, state offi- 
cials could order a draft, but drafted men with enough money could 
hire substitutes, who sometimes received large sums for short terms 
of service. Regular Army recruiting officers met competition they 
could not overcome in the high pay given to Militia substitutes. Sec- 
retary Monroe believed : 

. . . the failure of the recruiting service has been owing, in most of the States, 
principally to the high bounty given for substitutes in the detached Militia. 

Many of the Militia detached for 6 months have given a greater sum for 
substitutes than the bounty allowed by the United States for a recruit to serve 
for the war. 160 

Under an act approved 6 February 1812, the President was author- 
ized to accept artillery, cavalry, or infantry companies for volunteer 
Federal service. 161 These companies were subject to call at any time 
within 2 years and were obligated to remain in service for 12 months. 
Volunteers were subject to the Articles of War and to Army Regula- 
tions, but as the act was first passed officers were selected as provided 
by the regulations of the several States. In July of 1812, Congress 
provided for the Federal appointment of officers. 162 

There were times when the Government was unable to accept all the 
volunteers who offered their services. General Jackson called for 
1,500 at Nashville, 10 December 1812, and 2,500 responded. 163 Ameri- 
can settlers, anxious for revenge after the British had aroused the 
Indians north of the Ohio, volunteered and hurried to rendezvous 
points where, for more than a fortnight, they were without tents and 
other essential equipment. 164 Their enthusiasm did not help the Regu- 
lar Army, which was unable to spare its officers and men for recruiting 

The Volunteer Act of 1812 was not successful. One of its defects 
was the failure to provide for the appointment of field officers until 
after sufficient companies had been formed for a regiment. The com- 
panies of a regiment, frequently from different States, had little com- 
bined training before entering operations. One year of service out of 
a 2 -year enlistment was unsatisfactory. Those who wanted military 
service disliked the inactivity. Farmers, merchants, or artisans, 
anxious to sacrifice the minimum time, preferred to take the field im- 
mediately. 165 

100 American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, p. 518. 

«i Act of February 6, 1812, "An Act Authorizing the President of the United States to 
Accept and Organize Certain Volunteer Military Corps," 12th Cong., 1st Sess. Copy in 
U. S. Statutes at Large, II, ch. 21, p. 676. 

162 Act of July 6, 1812, "An Act Supplementary to the Act entitled 'An Act Authorizing 
the President of the United States to Organize Certain Volunteer Military Corps,' " 12th 
Cong., 1st sess. Copy in U. 8. Statutes at Large, II, ch. 38, p. 785. 

M3 Marquis James, The Life of Andrew Jackson (Indianapolis, 1933), p. 146. 

104 Benson J. Lossing, The Pictorial Field Book of the War of 1812 (New York, 1896), 
p. 96. 

165 American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, p. 515. 



The Army's deficiencies were not limited to the Volunteers. Maj. 
Gen. Winfield Scott complained that many of the officers were "gen- 
erally sunk in either sloth, ignorance, or habits of intemperate drink- 
ing." 166 A British historian blamed incompetent officers for failure 
to make good soldiers out of American frontiersmen who could have 
been "grand fighting men." 167 Inspection reports indicated that the 
men lacked training, the company officers were inexperienced, and 
that in many instances there was a "spirit of mutiny" in camps. De- 
sertions were frequent. 168 Few men would reenlist, one of the rea- 
sons being dissatisfaction due to delays in receiving pay ; a paymaster 
arrived at Niagara in December 1813 with only 1 month's pay for 
Militia troops who had not been paid for 3 months. 169 

Early in 1814, the Secretary of War considered a plan to divide the 
Militia into as many classes as there were soldiers to be raised; 
each class to be responsible for furnishing a soldier during the re- 
mainder of the war. This proposal, had it been adopted, might have 
provided the replacements which the regimental recruiting service 
could not provide, but it failed to survive the opposition of those 
members of Congress who feared any increase in Federal control. 170 

Acting Secretary of War James Monroe on 17 October 1814 outlined 
for the Senate Committee on Military Affairs a further refinement of 
this proposal. 171 The Secretary suggested that the military estab- 
lishment, then authorized 62,448 men, be continued and that efforts 
be made to fill all organizations. He also wanted an additional perma- 
nent force of 40,000 men to defend the cities and the frontiers, an en- 
largement of the Corps of Engineers, and minor changes in the 
Ordnance service, If these proposals had been carried out, about 
100,000 Regular troops would have been brought into the coming 
campaign, with additional Volunteers and Militia available in case 
of an emergency. 

Secretary Monroe suggested four alternative plans for obtaining 

I. The free male population, 18 to 45 years, was to be formed into classes 
of 100 men, each class to furnish 4 soldiers within 30 days and to replace 
casualties as they occurred. The assignment to classes was to be made so 
as to obtain an even distribution of property. Each member was to be as- 
sessed according to the value of his property and the money used for boun- 
ties, both cash and land, to be paid to recruits from that class. Classes which 
failed to provide the required men within the time specified would be subject 

wo David Saville Muzzy, The United States of America, Through the Civil War (New 
York, 1922), p. 257. 

167 Fortescue, op. cit. t IX, p. 349. 

168 American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, pp. 490-510. 
™Ibid„ I, p. 486. 

170 Abridgement of the Debates in Congress, V, p. 163. 

171 American Military State Papers, Military Affairs, I, pp. 514-519. 



to draft, but those drafted could furnish substitutes at their own expense. 
Recruits were to be delivered to the recruiting officers in each of the nine 
military departments and marched to general rendezvous designated by the 
War Department. County courts, Militia officers, or special officials were to 
administer the plan in each county. 

II. The members of the Militia were to be classified and made subject to 
longer terms of service. 

III. Five men could provide another man to serve for the war and thus 
gain their own exemption from active service. (The comments of the Sec- 
retary of War indicated that he considered this plan likely to result in such 
high bounties that recruiting would be difficult. ) 

IV. The system of recruiting and the calls on the Militia already in opera- 
tion were to be continued and additional bounties in cash and land offered 
to those who served. 172 

The Secretary of War preferred the first plan, which he said was 
designed to engage the unmarried and the youthful in the defense 
of the State, giving them adequate compensation from the voluntary 
contributions of the more wealthy. The fourth proposal, however, 
was the one adopted. 173 The result was that the responsibility for 
raising men remained with the regiments. This decision marked the 
end of the War Department's efforts to improve the personnel system 
during the War of 1812. 

Increased bounties and intensive recruiting brought 13,898 men into 
the service between 27 January and 26 October 1814. 174 The drive 
came too late. Had these recruits been available 2 years earlier to 
fill the 17 infantry regiments then forming, the course of the war 
might have been changed. 

There were several efforts to improve recruit training, some initi- 
ated by members of Congress. Kepresentative Thomas R. Gold of 
New York on 29 December 1812 said : "... a soldier is not the crea- 
ture of an hour ; he must be seasoned to the hardships of war. . . ." 175 
A numbef of the officers in the field attempted to meet this need. Brig. 
Gen. George McClure in December 1813 reported to the Secretary 
of War: "I have collected from the different recruiting rendezvous 
about 120 soldiers and put them under the command of Lt. David 
Riddle, 15th United States Infantry, an excellent and deserving of- 
ficer.' 5 176 This appears to have been the first replacement training 
camp in American history. Incidental training previously given at 
rendezvous points could scarcely be regarded as replacement training. 

General Scott established a camp of instruction at Buffalo in April 
1814 which trained recruits as well as units. Officers were formed 
into squads and were taught the formations and movements of the 

* 72 Ibid. 

174 American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, pp. 521-522. 

175 Abridgements of the Debates in Congress, IV, p. 615. 

176 AmeHcan 8tate Papers, Military Affairs, I, p. 487. 



soldier, squad, company, and battalion. Instruction included mili- 
tary courtesy, field hygiene, and camp sanitation. After the officers 
had gained the required proficiency, they passed the training on to 
the soldiers. Within 3 months, not only the recruits but the entire 
regiments had improved. These camps were credited for much of 
the increased efficiency displayed by the troops during the latter part 
of the war. 177 

General Scott was chairman of a board which, in 1815, prepared 
regulations placing greater stress on training of recruits. The man- 
ual prepared by this board divided the "School of the Soldier" into 
three parts. The first part, including the positions, facings, and 
marching without arms, was especially prepared for recruit instruc- 
tion. Beginners were trained singly or in groups of four or less, de- 
pending on the number of instructors. Regimental commanders were 
responsible for conducting the training. 178 

In summary, the American forces during 1812 and 1813 suffered 
from inadequate staff organization, from the failure of the Regular 
Army to fill its ranks, and from the inability of Militia and Volunteer 
units to conduct operations distant from their homes. An effective 
recruiting system might have enabled the Regular Army to fulfill its 
mission, making it unnecessary to rely upon inadequately trained and 
improperly organized Militia units. The War of 1812 demonstrated 
that regimental recruiting would not furnish the men needed by the 
military forces for action in a distant theater ; that a better recruiting 
system was needed. 

The Beginning of the General Recruiting Service 

Regimental recruiting, regardless of high bounties and intensive 
solicitation, failed by half to fill the ranks of the Regular Army dur- 
ing the War of 1812. That conflict came to a close with the regiments 
more than 30,000 under their authorized strength. 179 The strength 
of the peace establishment was fixed at 10,000 men by the act of 3 
March 1815. 180 By the close of 1817, the Army was down to about 
8,000. Peacetime regimental recruiting was not proving much more 
effective than had wartime regimental recruiting. 

There were several attempts to improve the efficiency of the recruit- 
ing service. Revised regulations required the commanding officer of 

177 Charles Winslow Elliott, Winfleld Scott, the Soldier and the Man (New York, 1937), 
p. 146. 

178 Rules and Regulations for the Field Exercises and Maneuvers of Infantry (New York, 
1815), p. 12. 

179 Letters Sent, Recruiting Service, 1842, p. 203 (30 Apr 1842). Records of Recruiting 
Division, AGO. National Archives. 

180 Act of March 3, 1815, "An Act Fixing the Military Peace Establishment of the United 
States/' 13th Cong., 3d Sess. Copy in U. S. Statutes at Large, III, ch. 79, p. 224. 



each regiment or corps to select a field officer or captain to superintend 
the platoon officers, noncommissioned officers, and musicians on re- 
cruiting duty. Each regimental superintendent reported directly to 
The Adjutant and Inspector General in Washington, D. C. Many 
of the recruits accepted were below the desired physical standards, 
although medical officers were cautioned to be more thorough in con- 
ducting examinations. 

There was a greater effort to make reforms after John C. Calhoun 
became Secretary of War in December 1817. Few men in public life 
at that time better understood the defects of the military service. Cal- 
houn's reforms played an important part in the later development 
of the replacement system. Congress in 1818 and again in 1820 asked 
for reports on the most effective and least painful method for reduc- 
ing the Army, and Calhoun proposed an "expansible standing army" 
capable of expansion in wartime without major changes in organiza- 
tion. Congress did not adopt all of Calhoun's suggestions, but the 
"expansible army" theory was an important factor in subsequent mili- 
tary history. 

There was a reduction of the Army in 1821, and within a year the 
military force was cut to an authorized 6,126, the low point for the 
period between the W ar of 1812 and the Mexican War. 181 More Regu- 
lar Army companies were moving to the western territory, far from 
the centers of population. These organizations lost men rapidly and 
their only source for replacements was through their own recruiting 
efforts. From 1 January to 12 November 1822, the 3d Infantry in 
Michigan, the 4th Infantry in Florida, the 5th Infantry on the upper 
Mississippi, and the 7th Infantry in Louisiana all failed to enlist any 
recruits; the 6th Infantry in Iowa obtained only 10. The artillery 
regiments serving in New England and along the east coast did better, 
their enlistments being: 1st Artillery, 134; 2d Artillery, 78 ; 3d Artil- 
lery, 24 ; and the 4th Artillery, in a more remote location in Georgia, 3. 
The infantry regiments near the larger centers of population did not 
have impressive recruiting records. Most successful was the 1st In- 
fantry, in the vicinity of New Orleans, with 35 men, 9 more than the 
2d Infantry, which was recruiting in the populous New York region. 1S2 

In view of the serious shortage of men, Maj. Gen. Jacob Brown, the 
commanding general, in July of 1822, directed General Scott, then 
commanding the Eastern Department, to open recruiting rendezvous 
in New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Lt. Col. W. M. MacRea 
was detailed to superintend these stations and was instructed to operate 
them independently rather than in conjunction with regimental re- 

181 Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 
(Washington, 1903), pp. 580-81. 

382 American State Papers, Military Affairs, II, p. 457. 



cruiting. 183 The men who were enlisted were distributed to the regi- 
ments upon orders from the War Department. Within 6 months, the 
new stations had obtained 641 men, more than twice the number en- 
listed by regimental recruiting during the previous year. 384 

Additional general recruiting rendezvous were opened at Boston, 
Providence, and Albany in 1823. The 6 stations in operation that year 
obtained 1,908 recruits, compared with 823 enlisted by the regiments. 
General recruiting was extended to the Western Department in 1824, 
with rendezvous opened in Louisville, Xatchez, and Cincinnati. A 
renewal of interest in the Army that year stimulated all recruiting, 
the regiments enlisting 1,225, which was much better than in previous 
years but still behind the 1,333 enlisted through the General Recruiting 

From 1 October 1824 until 30 September 1825, the regiments re- 
cruited 572 men. During this period the General Recruiting depots 
in the Eastern Department enlisted 746, those in the Western Depart- 
ment 403. By 1825, the General Eecruiting Service was firmly estab- 
lished and was providing the regiments with the replacements they 
had been unable to obtain through their own efforts. 

The General Recruiting Service was recognized as an important 
military activity and regulations were published governing its op- 
eration. The superintendents, usually either lieutenant colonels or 
majors, were appointed by the War Department, one being named for 
the Eastern and another for the Western Department. Each regi- 
mental commander normally selected two officers, usually a captain and 
a first lieutenant, whose names were sent to the Adjutant General's 
office for War Department approval, after which orders were issued 
placing the officers on general recruiting duty for service under the 

The principal purpose of the General Recruiting Service was to 
supply recruits for the frontier posts. Units serving near centers of 
population were expected to employ regimental recruiting parties to 
obtain the men they needed. After the service had been in operation 
for a few years, it became the practice to select 1 or 2 additional recruit- 
ing officers from regiments on the western frontier. Two years of 
recruiting detail sometimes was the only break in a long period of iso- 
lated service for officers assigned to regiments in the West. 

Men who were accepted at the recruiting stations and who passed 
the physical examinations were issued uniforms and were given some 
training before they reached their regiments. 185 Recruiting officers 

183 WD GO 34, 1822. 

184 American State Papers, Military Affairs, II, p. 457. 

^ Letters Sent, Recruiting Service, 18^4 (18 Jul 1844). Records of Recruiting Division, 
AGO. National Archives. 



could not promise specific assignments : men were required to go wher- 
ever the War Department sent them. 

The superintendents were responsible for keeping capable recruiting 
parties at the recruiting stations and rendezvous points. They also 
could appoint noncommissioned officers, their authority being similar 
to that of regimental commanders except that they could make pro- 
motions only when vacancies could be diverted from the regiments. 
Reductions sometimes were necessary when the regiments used up all 
their vacancies. Depot and rendezvous commanders could designate 
acting noncommissioned officers who drew no additional pay, but such 
appointments terminated upon the transfer of the men. 

The War Department seldom approved the detachment of non- 
commissioned officers from regiments for General Recruiting duty, a 
policy which made it difficult to obtain capable instructors. Conse- 
quently, some depot commanders trained men for promotions ; others 
recruited civilians, promising they would be promoted to the grade 
of sergeant and retained on recruiting duty. Men no longer required 
in the recruiting service but not trained to perform duties appropriate 
to their grades in line units were permitted to request discharges. The 
Adjutant General generally disapproved the practice of enlisting men 
whose services were limited to recruiting duty, and it was gradually 
discontinued. 186 

By 1829, nine General Recruiting stations were enlisting about 150 
recruits each month. These men were being assembled at specified 
points for instruction preparatory to assignment to units. Infantry- 
men who enlisted in the East usually went to Fort Monroe, Va. ; a 
depot for the mounted service was established at Carlisle Barracks, 
Pa.; recruits going to the upper Mississippi and Missouri Rivers 
reported to centrally located Jefferson Barracks, Mo. Bedloe's Island, 
in New York Harbor, became an important depot point for recruits 
moving by water. The efforts of the General Recruiting Service were 
so productive that by the close of 1829 the Army was near its author- 
ized strength and recruiting officers were instructed to accept only 
the better applicants. 187 

It soon developed that recruiting in the sparsely settled West was 
more expensive and less productive ; so the General Recruiting Service 
in the Western Department was discontinued 7 May 1829. It was not 
resumed until 14 June 1833, when headquarters was reestablished at 
Louisville. 188 Almost 4 years later, on 11 April 1837, the General Re- 

1SG IMd., 1855 (20 Nov 1855). 

w Ibid., 1829, p. 166 (17 Jun 1829). 

las WD G0 33j 7 May 18 29 ; Letters Sent, Recruiting Service, 1829, p. 155 (7 May 1829) ; 
WD GO 21, 11 Apr 1837; Letters Sent, Recruiting Service, 18S7, p. 448. Records of Re- 
cruiting Division, AGO. National Archives. 



cruiting Service in the Western Department again was suspended. 
The station at Xewport, Ky., however, continued in operation under 
the direction of the superintendent of the Eastern Department. Later 
in the year another station was opened at Louisville, Ky. 

Recruits were detailed to military posts or stations by orders issued 
from the General Headquarters of the Army. Detachments were for- 
warded as often as possible because the regiments usually were short 
of men. Officers under orders for* change of station were placed in 
command of traveling recruit detachments whenever possible. Sepa- 
rate muster rolls, listing the names in alphabetical order, were pre- 
pared for each detachment. The officer who conducted the recruits 
delivered the rolls to the commander of the post to which the men 
were assigned, a practice which made it difficult for intermediate com- 
manders to divert men. Recruit detachments at depots were made up 
to include all the troops of a particular arm which the reports received 
by The Adjutant General indicated were needed to fill vacancies. The 
post commanding officer was responsible for equitable distribution to 
organizations of his command and he could make any adjustments 
which might be necessary because of casualties en route or changes in 
t he strength situation at the post. 

The Adjutant General desired each regiment to have its share of the 
more capable men, but a fair distribution was difficult in the absence 
of classification methods. 189 Artisans were distributed equally among 
the regiments. Approximately a year was necessary to recruit a man, 
give him preliminary training, and transport him to a post. Expe- 
rience disclosed that the majority of desertions and a large portion of 
the disabilities and deaths occurred during the first year of service. 190 

The physical examination at the depot was not the final one. Regu- 
lations required the recruit to appear before a regimental board of 
inspection and there were few detachments, however small, in which 
there were no rejections. 191 The Adjutant General, believing that the 
regulations were full and explicit, urged physicians to exercise more 
care. The large number of rejections by units caused the officers con- 
nected with the Adjutant General's Office to suggest a longer period 
of observation in the depots. 

Frontier posts, regardless of their isolation, usually were well organ- 
ized apd maintained strict discipline. 192 The recruit's introduction to 
his organization started in the regiment with an interview by the reg- 
imental commander and was continued in the company where the com- 
pany commander, after another interview, assigned the man to a squad. 
The corporal of the squad assumed the major responsibility for the 

189 Ibid., 1851, p. 8. 

**> ma. 

™Ibid. f 18*5, p. 392. 

George A. Forsyth, The Story of the Soldier (New York, 1900), p. 88. 



development of the recruit into a soldier, but the iiew arrival's progress 
was closely observed by the other officers and noncommissioned officers. 
The novice did his share of extra duty. He also learned to defend 
himself against the pranks of the "company bully." After 2 or 3 
months of daily drill, a man was detailed as a supernumerary of the 
guard and soon thereafter his name was on the full guard roster. This 
first guard detail marked the end of the "raw recruit" stage. 

Reports from organizations in the field indicate that the General 
Recruiting Service, although an improvement over the earlier method 
of raising men, did not solve all the problems, especially for those 
units in remote locations. Line companies, frequently called upon to 
provide staff officers, seldom had more than tw T o officers present, and 
special details such as driving trains, repairing roads, or building 
bridges took many of the enlisted men. Maj. Gen. Alexander Macomb, 
Commander in Chief of the Army, declared in 1832 that a company's 
enlisted strength frequently was reduced one-third within 1 month 
after arrival in the field. He proposed changes in tables to provide 
additional staff officers and suggested that from 80 to 100 laborers be 
assigned to each company, but his requests w r ere not approved. 

Some enlisted men accused recruiting officers of making false prom- 
ises. A member of a regiment of mounted dragoons who served during 
1833 published an account of his experiences in which he said : "Many 
were told . . . they would have nothing to do but to ride on horseback 
over the country, to explore the western prairies and forests, and 
indeed, spend their time continually in delightful and inspiring occu- 
pations." When this recruit reached his unit he found he was "noth- 
ing above the other portions of the army." Confronted with what 
they regarded as broken promises, many of the men deserted, accord- 
ing to this soldier's statement. 193 

In campaigns against the Indians, such as the Black Hawk War of 
1832, the Florida War which began in 1835, and other operations, 
Regular troops were aided by Militia and Volunteers usually called 
out for short periods. When the Volunteer companies or battalions 
di'opped so far below strength their services no longer were effective, 
new organizations were called to take their places. Many of the Volun- 
teers and Militiamen were engaged for periods so short that their serv- 
ices were inefficient and expensive. Mounted men, who drew addi- 
tional pay for the use of their horses, were extremely costly, and about 
half of the 10,000 employed in the Florida campaign of 1836 served 
as cavalry. One regiment paid in rentals almost the full market 
value for horses it used for 6 months. The Government also was re- 
quired to pay for many animals that died for want of forage. 194 

103 Dragoon Campaign* to the Rocky Mountains (New York, 183fi), pp. 44-40. 
18 * "Annual Report of the Secretary of War for 1837," American State Papers, Military 
Affairs, VII, p. 572. 



General Scott, in a report submitted 30 April 1836 in connection 
with the Seminole War, pointed out the advantage of increasing the 
strength of companies already in service. "New regiments, or regi- 
ments of recruits, would be worth little or nothing in this war," he 
wrote. "I will therefore earnestly recommend that the companies 
of the old regiments be extended to 80 or 90 privates each. Recruits 
mixed up with the old soldiers in June or July would become effective 
by the 1st of December." 195 

The 1st Regiment of Artillery returned from Florida in 1838 and 
was assigned to patrol a portion of the Canadian border. Since the 
regiment was at low strength and recruiting efforts were unproduc- 
tive, in April 1839 all men except the commanding officer, 2 ser- 
geants, and 4 privates were transferred from Battery D to Battery 
H. The captain and the six enlisted men remaining in Battery D 
established a recruiting rendezvous at Portsmouth, X. H., and a 
branch rendezvous at Augusta, Me., in order to secure the men 
who were not available from the General Recruiting Service. A short 
time later the men remaining in Battery E were transferred to Bat- 
teries C and F, and the commanding officer of Battery E recruited 
replacements at Bangor, Me. This procedure was repeated in July 
when all but 12 of the enlisted men of Battery I were transferred 
to Battery K, whereupon the commander and men remaining in Bat- 
tery I went on recruiting duty. 196 

The annual report of the Secretary of War for 1838 noted that 
a large number of the officers physically disqualified for field service 
remained on active duty. It was suggested that such officers retire 
and draw base pay without additional emoluments for rations, for- 
age, or quarters, the vacancies so created to be filled by promoting 
the officers next in rank who would serve without the additional pay 
of the higher grade during the lifetime of the officers they replaced. 
The Secretary of War declared the plan would cost nothing and 
would place capable and vigorous officers in places of responsibil- 
ity. 197 Although this problem was brought to the attention of Con- 
gress a number of times, both by General Macomb and by General 
Scott,, who became Commanding General of the Army in 1841, no 
corrective legislation was passed. 

The attitude of some communities toward recruiting parties is 
indicated by newspaper reports. Some extended wishes for success 
which were not exactly beneficial to the Army. As an example, the 
Burlington, Vt., Free Press was quoted as having said: "We had 

195 Upton, op. cit., p. 166. 

196 William L. Haskin, The History of the First Regiment of Artillery (Portland, Me., 
1897), p. 71. 

197 S. Ex. Doc. 1, 25th Cong., 3d Sess., "Annual Report of the Secretary of War," November 
28, 1838, p. 120. 



a recruiting sergeant from Plattsburg parading our streets yester- 
day, with a band of music, beating up for recruits. We hope he has 
been successful, for we could spare a goodly number of loafers, who, 
if they would serve their country as faithfully as they do the devil, 
would be a great acquisition to the Army." 198 

Congress, after the close of the Florida War, reduced the Regular 
Army from 12,539 to 8,613. As a result of this reduction, the Gen- 
eral Eecuiting Service was discontinued on 23 August 1842 and was 
not resumed until 1 May 1844. From 1 October 1844 until 30 Sep- 
tember 1845, the 18 General Eecruiting stations enlisted 1,365 men. 199 
What General Scott described as "an unsuccessful experiment with 
3-year enlistments" terminated with the Mexican War when 5-year 
enlistments were resumed. 200 A number of regiments serving on the 
frontier sent one or two of their companies to eastern posts to serve 
as recruit depots and training centers, but most of the regiments 
could not spare companies for this purpose. The Soldiers Book, 
published to inform new men what the Army was like, was distrib- 
uted to recruits before they joined their regiments and the 20 cents 
it cost was deducted from the first muster roll. 201 The first compre- 
hensive manual for the training of recruits was a booklet entitled 
Recruit, written by Capt. John T. Cairns, which appeared in 1845 
and marked an important forward step in the work of the recruit 
depots. This volume became the schoolbook of the soldier through- 
out the United States, covering all military drill and routine. Five 
editions were printed within 10 years after its first publication. 202 

During 1845, the General Recruiting Service and the regiments 
enlisted 3,577 men, bringing all units in the Army close td their 
authorized strength. This was in marked contrast to the condition 
prior to the War of 1812 when the Regular Army was at less than 
one-fifth of its authorized strength. The significance of this improved 
condition, due principally to the General Eecruiting Service, was 
soon to become apparent at Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Vera Cruz, 
and Chapultepec. 

The Mexican War 

The Regular Army entered the Mexican War in May 1846 with 
6,562 men of an authorized 8,613. Units were operating under the 
reduction of 1842 203 which had cut enlisted strength of companies to 

198 A rmy ana - Navy Chronicle, VIII (25 Apr 1839) , p. 270. 

109 Letters Sent, Recruiting Service, 18^2, p. 254 (15 Oct 1842). Records of Recruiting 
Division, AGO. National Archives. 

200 WD GO 21, 1847 ; S. Doc. No. 1, 28th Cong., 1st Sess., "Annual Report of the Major 
General Commanding the Army, 1843," p. 62. 

201 WD GO 26, 1839. 

302 S. Wallace Cone, Biographical Sketch of Capt. John T. Cairns (New York, 1855), p. 13. 
203 Act of August 23, 1842, "An Act Respecting the Organization of the Army and for 
Other Purposes," 27th Cong., 2d Sess. Copy in U. S. Statutes at Large, V, ch. 186, p. 512. 



42 or 50 men. This act weakened the Army more than did any diffi- 
culty in obtaining recruits. General Service recruiting stations in 18 
of the principal centers of population during 1846 enlisted nearly 
6,000 men for the 15 old Regular Army regiments ; the following year 
they enlisted nearly 8,000. The General Recruiting Service, in the 
opinion of the Secretary of War, could have supplied a sufficient 
number of men to have maintained companies at 100 men each, had 
such strength been authorized. 204 The General Recruiting Service 
was most effective during the early part of the war; in the later 
months the volunteers, who offered short enlistments and preserved 
home ties to a greater extent than the Regular Army, provided serious 
competition. [See chart 3.] Pension laws favored the Volunteers. 




New Regiments 
as Units 








General Recruiting 


Federol Control 

State Control 

Replacement Flow 

Regular Army line units at the beginning of the war w T ere the 1st 
to the 8th Infantry Regiments, the 1st and 2d Dragoons, and a regi- 
ment of mounted riflemen that had been added to guard the immi- 
grant routes to Oregon. 205 About 4,000 soldiers who could be spared 
from garrison duty were concentrated under Brig. Gen. Zachary 
Taylor in Texas where they were trained and equipped. 206 Many of 
General Taylor's officers were West Point graduates, but they had 
been scattered among the frontier posts and few had had experience 
with units as large as regiments. Most of the artillerymen had been 
serving with the infantry and were poorly prepared in their own 
field. These defects generally were corrected during the border con- 

2°* S. Ex. Doc. 1, 30th Cong., 1st Sess., "Report of the Secretary of War," December 2, 
1847, p. 63. 

205 Act of May 15, 1846, "An Act to Provide for the Raising of a Regiment of Mounted 
Riflemen and for Establishing Military Stations on the Route to Oregon," 29th Cong., 1st 
Sess. Copy in 77. S. Statutes at Large, IX, ch. 22, p. 13. 

2(w h. Ex. Doc. 4, 29th Cong., 2d Sess., "Report of the Secretary of War," December 5, 
1846, p. 46. 

346225 O - 55 - 5 



While the Army was training in Texas, Congress increased the 
companies to 100 men. 207 Thereupon most of the regiments sent offi- 
cers to rendezvous in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, 
and a few other cities in an attempt to recruit enough men to bring 
their organizations to the higher figure, but few of the companies 
were increased to more than 80 men by this method. Some companies 
were filled by consolidations, the officers who gave up their men un- 
dertaking to recruit new units. Units that had been reduced by com- 
bat also were consolidated in some instances. An example is pro- 
vided by the 9th Infantry, which after the Battle of Chapultepec was 
at about half strength and had consolidated its companies, reducing 
the number from 10 to 5. Its first group of recruits to arrive in 
Mexico was formed into a sixth company, which underwent intensive 
drill during the 6 months the regiment was in quarters at Pachuca. 2J8 
In October 1847, there was another consolidation of units when Maj; 
Gen. John A. Quitman's division of Volunteers was broken up 
and the regiments were temporarily assigned to the 1st and 2d 
Divisions. 209 

In 1846, the principal depots of instruction were located at Fort 
Columbus, N". Y., Newport Barracks, Ky., Carlisle, Pa., and Jefferson 
Barracks, Mo. All of the recruits received some instruction before 
going to their units; those enlisted for the Infantry were trained in 
close order drill, those for mounted organizations in stable duties and 
horsemanship. 210 The efficiency of the recruit depots suffered some- 
what because the demand from the regiments for men caused the 
training periods to be reduced to speed up shipments. 211 

Recruits were organized into detachments under officers who them- 
selves were on the way to the front. Many detachments never reached 
their destinations ; some that did arrive suffered heavy losses en route. 
An indication of the extent of these losses is given in a letter written 
by Lt. Isaac I. Stevens, an engineer officer, who said that out of one 
group of 900 recruits at Perote and Jalapa on 3 June 1847 there were 
at least 200 sick who were left behind. 212 Some men were killed in 
skirmishes soon after they arrived in Mexico but before they joined 
their units. Others became ill and were left along the route. Some 
never were accounted for. Several hundred recruits who arrived at 

207 Act of May 13, 1946, "An Act to Authorize an Increase in the Rank and File of the 
Army of the United States," 29th Cong., 1st Sess. Copy in U. S. Statutes at Large, IX, 
ch. 17, p. 11. 

208 Capt. Fred R. Brown, History of the 9th U. S. Infantry (Chicago, 1909), p. 43. 
200 R. S. Ripley, The War With Mexico (New York, 1849), II, p. 536. 

210 H. Ex. Doc. 4, 29th Cong., 2d Sess., "Annual Report of the Secretary of War," Decem- 
ber 5, 1946, p. 53 ; John A. Logan, The Volunteer Soldier of America (Chicago and New 
York, 1887), pp. 478-549. 

211 S. Ex. Doc. 1, 30th Cong., 1st Sess.; "Report of the Adjutant General," November 30, 
1847, p. 81. 

212 Hazard Stevens, The Life of Isaac Ingalls Stevens (Boston and New York, 1900), I, 
p. 146. 



Vera Cruz and other concentration points were placed in separate 
companies instead of being assigned to regiments. The Adjutant 
General was unable to account for a number of these organizations 
because reports were only fragmentary or were entirely lacking. 213 
All in all, the system seldom functioned smoothly, but it did get re- 
placements to the regiments in Mexico. 

The Act of 11 February 1847 214 created 10 new Regular Army regi- 
ments — the 3d Dragoons, the Voltigeurs, and the 9th to the 16th In- 
fantry Regiments, inclusive. It was August before officers could be 
appointed, recruits enlisted, and the regiments equipped and trans- 
ported to General Scott, who was waiting for them. Officers assigned 
to these regiments recruited many of their men. When available, Gen- 
eral Service recruits were assigned to fill those vacancies which could 
not be filled by regimental recruiting. 

Another act, 215 passed 3 March 1847, authorized 8 additional com- 
panies of artillery to be added to the 4 regiments already in service. 
As an example of the way in which the artillery regiments were aug- 
meted, Companies L and M, 1st Artillery, formed under this act, were 
mustered at Governor's Island, N. Y., 1 October 1847, from the Gen- 
eral Service recruits at that post. On 12 October 1847, they were 
ordered to Vera Cruz but did not arrive until 7 January 1848, having 
been delayed by a shipwreck. At the time the two new companies 
joined the regiment the old companies had an average strength of 54 
men. The two weakest companies were broken up and the men dis- 
tributed to other units, leaving the regiment with the same number 
of companies it had before the reinforcements arrived. 216 By the end 
of 1847, the additional artillery companies had been recruited to an 
average strength of 95 men each, and all were on their way to Mexico. 

From 1 May 1846 to 5 July 1848, enlistments in the Regular Army 
numbered 35,009. There were 32,190 (including 548 in a Marine bat- 
talion) who left concentration or rendezvous points for Mexico, but 
only 27,470 were reported as having joined units in Mexico after the 
commencement of hostilities. During this same period, the Regular 
Army lost in deaths from all causes 6,112 men, while the wounded 
numbered 2,745. Discharges for disability totaled 2,544. There were 
1,582 discharges for expiration of term of service, 410 as a result of 
other military orders, and 487 released upon orders from civil au- 

213 H. Ex. Doc. 62, 30th Cong., 1st Sess., "Regulars and Volunteers Engaged in the 
Mexican War," p. 14. 

214 Act of February 11, 1847, "An Act to Raise for a Limited Time an Additional Military 
Force and for Other Purposes," 29th Cong., 2d Sess. Copy in U. S. Statutes at Large, IX, 
ch. 8, p. 123. 

215 Act of March 3, 1847, "An Act Making Provision for an Additional Number of Gen- 
eral Officers, and for Other Purposes," 29th Cong., 2d Sess. Copy in TJ. S. Statutes at 
Large, IX, ch. 61, sec. 18, p. 186. 

21 « Haskin, op. ext., p. 116. 



thorities. The Adjutant General on 30 November 1847 estimated not 
more than 20,033 Regular Army effectives. 217 

The organization of the Volunteer regiments formed during the 
Mexican War involved most of the difficulties that had been encount- 
ered during the War of 1812. At the beginning of the Mexican con- 
flict, General Scott proposed that Volunteers be placed in camps of 
instruction close to their homes until supplies and equipment were 
available. 218 He-believed that the troops would not be ready before 1 
September 1846. Officials in Washington were anxious for early 
action, and the Volunteers themselves were impatient although they 
had little conception of the preparations necessary for a campaign. 
The soldiers and the public criticized the Government and the Army 
for what was regarded as unnecessary delay, but criticism for lack of 
preparation probably would have been more appropriate. Many 
officers believed the Government was guilty of sending men to Mexico 
without adequate transportation or subsistence. 219 

At Matamoros in May 1846, General Taylor feared he would have 
so many Volunteers he would be unable to keep them busy. 220 He main- 
tained that Volunteers never were intended to carry on a war outside 
the limits of their own country. About 18,000 arrived at Brazos 
Island without adequate supplies, camp equipment, or transportation. 
Some 4,000 had volunteered in Louisiana, believing they were needed 
to save the Army of the Rio Grande, but when they arrived no enemy 
was within 300 miles. These men were unsuited to camp life and 
disease soon took its toll. When they asked to fight or go home, Gen- 
eral Taylor could not produce a battle immediately and they were 
sent home. 

Large numbers of men who might have served as replacements but 
who were called up for short periods failed to perform any useful 
service. Three-month volunteers were mustered from Louisiana and 
Texas. Fourteen regiments and seven companies from Alabama, 
Louisiana, Missouri, Texas, and California were called for 6 months 
but were held for only 3 months when it was decided there was no 
legislation authorizing 6-month enlistments. The 3- and the 6-month 
men, 2 regiments of 12-month men from Ohio and Missouri, and 1 
company from Iowa, totaling 14,480, might have been used as replace- 
ments had it not been that their period of service was so short they 

217 Heitman, op. tit., II, p. 282. See also H. Ex. Doc. 24, 31st Cong, 1st Sess., "Military 
Forces Employed in the Mexican War," January 3, 1850, especially table on p. 8a. Heit- 
man's figures are believed to be a later revision and are followed when they differ from 
the earlier source. 

218 Appendix to Congressional Globe, 29th Cong., 1st Sess., "Letters of General Scott to 
the Secretary of War," 1845-46, p. 650. 

^George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade (New York, 1913), I, 
pp. 110-22. 

220 Zachary Taylor, Letters From the Battlefields of the Mexican War (Rochester, N. Y., 
1908), pp. 4, 51, 176. 



could not reach the scene of operations. More than 2,000 men were 
discharged within a few days after they were mustered. All had 
been called by department commanders without authority of Con- 
gress or the AVar Department, but Congress appropriated money for 
their pay. 

The legal tangle growing out of the enlistment of the 6-month 
volunteers confronted General Taylor with an unexpected need for 
replacements in June 1846, when the Government notified all com- 
manders that 8,000 of the men then in service could not be held for 
more than 3 months. These men, upon learning that they were entitled 
to their discharges, refused to reenlist for an additional 9 months and 
thus place themselves in the 12-month category. They decided instead 
to go home and were sent to the rear with wagons and teams which 
should have been used to move troops forward. 

The act of 13 May 1846, 221 which authorized the President to call 
for 50,000 Volunteers for 12 months or for the duration of the war, 
created confusion when "12 months" was interpreted as the maximum 
period of service, making a new call necessary at the end of the year. 
Congress provided for State organization of the volunteer troops and 
requisitions were sent to the Governors of Arkansas, Mississippi, Ala- 
bama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, 
and Texas for a total of 26 regiments; Maryland and the District of 
Columbia provided a battalion. Thirty regiments and 3 companies 
were mustered under the call for 12-month men, but 12 companies at 
Cincinnati, Ohio, were mustered in and out of the service on the same 
day, that State having exceeded its quota. Reports to The Adjutant 
General of the War Department indicated that 288 companies of 12- 
month volunteers, with an aggregate strength of 24,770, lost 4,100 men, 
only 97 of whom were killed in battle. The 12-month regiments, with 
27,063 men assigned, were mustered out with a strength of 18,210 indi- 
cating losses of 8,853. There had been 4,530 discharges, of which 
4,064 were for disability ; 2,298 deaths, including 439 killed in battle or 
dead from wounds ; and 600 desertions. 222 

By November 1846, it was apparent that the 12-month volunteers 
would not finish the campaign, and the President, under discretion 
given him by the act of 13 May 1846, called for Volunteers to serve 
during the war. By the end of 1847, there had been organized under 
this call 22 regiments, 5 battalions, and 8 separate companies of infan- 
try; 1 regiment, 2 battalions, and 22 companies of mounted troops; 
and 3 companies of foot artillery — an aggregate equal to 29 regiments 

321 Act of May 13, 1846, "An Act Authorizing an Increase in the Rank and File of the 
Army of the United States," 29th Cong., 1st Sess. Copy in U. S. Statutes at Large, IX, ch. 
17, p. 11. 

222 h. Ex. Doc. 42, 29th Cong., 2d Sess., "The Adjutant General's Report on Volunteers 
Received into the Service of the United States," January 16, 1947, p. 2. 



and 16 companies. 223 Several other regiments were mustered later, 
making a total of 32 plus 16 companies. At a strength of 100 per com- 
pany the war regiments would have required 34,171 men, but they were 
mustered with 6,961 vacancies. Losses were so high on the march into 
Mexico that by December 1847 The Adjutant General estimated the 
shortages in the war regiments at 12,530. 224 Five of the war regiments 
were formed in Mexico. 

Legislation which was passed 12 January 1847 authorized enlistment 
of replacements for the Volunteer regiments but did not provide any 
recruiting agency. 225 The War Department made available Kegular 
Army recruiting funds and the colonels of the regiments selected 15 
captains and 33 lieutenants for recruiting duty, but their efforts 
obtained only 821 recruits before 1 January 1848, and many of those 
who enlisted never reached their regiments. The war regiments had 
a total enrolled strength of 33,596, but at the time they were mustered 
out of the service they contained 21,474 men, indicating a loss of 12,122. 
There had been 3,732 discharges, of which 2,763 were for disability; 
deaths numbered 4,572, including 152 killed in battle or dead from 
wounds ; desertions numbered 2,730. 226 

Replacements who entered Volunteer units received their most ef- 
fective training at schools of instruction along the Border or in Mexico. 
There were frequent complaints against recruiting officers. A mem- 
ber of the New York 1st Regiment of Volunteers, raised in November 
of 1846 to serve for the war, complained in a published book that re- 
cruits were obtained by deceit, some coming in answer to advertise- 
ments for laborers. This writer accused city officials of misappro- 
priating money intended for soldiers. 227 Many recruits were unable 
to make the adjustment to Army life. At Matamoros in May 1846, 
some 2,000 plantation owners and "gentlemen" who at home had their 
own servants but who had joined the Army as private soldiers muti- 
nied at the prospect of having to draw water and cut wood, chores 
they thought the Regulars should do for them. 228 Members of Volun- 
teer regiments sometimes overloaded their wagons with personal bag- 
gage and sutler's goods ; by leaving Government property behind they 
expected to trick supply officers into giving them extra provisions and 

Brig. Gen. John E. Wool arrived in Cincinnati on 6 June 1846 and 
mustered into service Volunteers from Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, 

223 S. Ex. Doc. 1, 30th Cone., 1st Sess., "Report of the Adjutant General " November 30. 
1848, p. 74. 

224 IUd. 

225 WD GO. 

226 H. Ex. Doc. 24, 31st Cong., 1st Sess., "Military Forces Employed in the Mexican 
War," January 3, 1850> p. 4. 

227 The High Private (New York, 1848). 

228 Meade, op. cit., I, p. 94. 



Indiana, Illinois, and Mississippi. Enthusiasm for the war was so 
great that many more men than could be accepted reported to the 
rendezvous points. The impatient Volunteers wanted to be on their 
way at once, but General Wool restrained them until supplies were 
received from the War Department. In less than 6 weeks, General 
Wool mustered more than 12,000 Volunteers, most of whom soon 
departed to join General Taylor on the Rio Grande, although about 
1,700 gathered at San Antonio de Bexar in Texas where they were 
organized as part of the column which General Wool commanded in 
the invasion of Chihuahua. 229 Wool's troops, including 622 men of 
the Regular Army and 2,339 Volunteers, received several weeks of 
training at Camp Crockett, 3 miles above the Alamo, remaining there 
until 11 October when the column crossed the Rio Grande. Report- 
ing to General Taylor 1 November 1846, General Wool described his 
troops as "in fine condition." He declared the Volunteers could un- 
dergo hunger and fatigue better than disciplinary restraint, that 
when they were not under the eye of the Regular commanders they 
were likely to neglect precautions necessary for their own safety. 230 
Most of Wool's troops were engaged in the battle of Buena Vista, 
22-23 February 1847. Not all of the regiments were above reproach, 
but General Taylor observed that "the brilliant success achieved by 
their arms releases me from the painful necessity of specifying many 
cases of bad conduct before the enemy." 231 

The 4th Regiment of Indiana Volunteers, made up of nearly 900 men 
who were mustered into service 15 June 1847 at Jeffersonville, Ind., 
provides another example of the methods used in training. Field offi- 
cers were elected on the day following the muster, and on 17 June the 
first formation was held at Fort Clark near Louisville, Ky. During 
the 10 days the regiment remained at Fort Clark there was little effort 
to maintain discipline, the men roaming at will to Louisville, New 
Albany, or Jeffersonville. On 27 June, the regiment boarded a steamer, 
sailed down the Ohio and Mississippi, arriving on 3 July at New 
Orleans. There it remained for several days during which its members 
were involved in several disorders. From New Orleans, the unit 
boarded transports and sailed to Brazos de Santiago, remaining there 
until 24 July, with the men doing little except wandering around 
Brazos Island. The Indiana Volunteers then marched to a camp of 
instruction 3 miles from Mier, a town of about 5,000 inhabitants on 
the Rio Alcantro about 3 miles above the confluence with the 
Rio Grande, where the 10th, 13th, and 16th Regular Regiments 

228 Francis Bayliss, A Narrative of General Wool's Campaign in Mexico (Albany, N. Y., 
184fi), p. H. 

*»>Ihid., pp. 17, 25. 

2 " S. Ex. Doc. 1, 30th Cong., 1st Sess., "General Taylor's Report on tbe Battle of Buena 
Vista," March 6, 1847, p. 138. 



already were encamped. Under the supervision of the Regular Army 
instructors, the officers of the Volunteer regiment soon became fa- 
miliar with Scott's Tactics and passed their knowledge on to their 
men through intensive daily drills. The mornings started with 2 
hours of company drill and the day was closed with a dress parade at 
6 o'clock. This camp was broken up 24 August upon orders for the 
troops to join General Taylor. By that time, the officers believed the 
men were ready for action in the field. 232 

In summary, the fact that the Regular Army entered the Mexican 
War at a respectable strength enabled it to overcome many of the 
obstacles of the campaign. It recognized its responsibility for the 
training of Volunteers, and the later units improved under better 
supervision. Militia units did not have an important part in the 
Mexican conflict. General Grarit, a few years after the Mexican War, 
summarized the condition of the Regular Army at the start of that 
conflict : 

At the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, General Taylor had 
a small army, but it was composed exclusively of Regular troops, under the 
best of drill and discipline. Every officer, from the highest to the lowest, was 
educated in his profession — not at West Point necessarily, but in the camp, in 
garrison, and many of them in the Indian wars. The rank and file were prob- 
ably inferior, as material out of which to make an army, to the volunteers 
that participated in all the later battles of the war ; but they were brave men, 
and then drill and discipline brought out all there was in them, A better army, 
man ( f or man, probably never faced an enemy than the one commanded by 
General Taylor in the earliest two engagements of the Mexican war. The 
volunteers who followed were of better material, but without drill or disci- 
pline at the start. They were associated with so many disciplined men and 
professionally educated officers that when they went into engagements it was 
with a confidence they would not have felt otherwise. 233 

Although there were many deficiencies, the military forces in the Mex- 
ican War received sufficient men to accomplish their mission. Reforms 
which started with the establishment of the General Recruiting Serv- 
ice in 1822 paid off in the test of combat. 

Replacements for Posts in the Far West 

Before the Mexican War, the military posts on the western frontier 
were located generally along the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi 
River, and the Great Lakes. Most stations were accessible by water 
and large numbers of recruits passed through the depots in New York 
Harbor where they embarked to join their regiments. After the 
release of the Volunteers at the close of the Mexican War, the Regu- 

232 Albert G. Bracket*, General Lane's Brigade in Central Mexico (Cincinnati and New 
York, 1854), pp. 11-31. 

233 U. S. Grant, Personal Memoirs (New York, 1885), I, pp. 167-168. 



lar Army again sent most of its units to the Far West, the disper- 
sion being greater because of the additional territory acquired as a 
result of the war. The new posts on the Pacific coast and in Texas 
and New Mexico were remote from navigable streams; consequently 
new routes were established, by way of the Isthmus of Panama or 
over the immigrant trails. 

The 2d Infantry and the 3d Artillery, assigned to California after 
the war, occupied posts at San Francisco, Monterey, San Gabriel, 
San Diego, San Luis Rey, Warner's ranch, and on the junction of 
the Gila and Sonoma Rivers. The first troops to serve in Oregon Ter- 
ritory demonstrated the difficulty of supplying personnel to units in 
the Pacific Northwest. Two batteries of the 1st Artillery embarked 
on the Government transport Massachusetts at Fort Hamilton, IS". Y., 
10 November 1848, and after sailing around South America arrived at 
the mouth of the Columbia River, 9 May 1849. Battery L estab- 
lished a post at Fort Vancouver, while Battery M on 28 August 
landed at Steilacoom, on Puget Sound, where a log-hut post was 
erected. These two batteries were reduced by discharges, desertions, 
and other losses, and they received no replacements. In February 
1853, they were at such reduced strength they no longer could func- 
tion and the enlisted men remaining, with the exception of a few 
noncommissioned officers, were transferred to other organizations. 
The officers of the two batteries and those noncommissioned officers 
who had not been transferred were ordered to Fort Monroe, Va. Both 
batteries were inactive until January and February of 1854, when 
the General Recruiting Service assigned enough men to reorganize 
the units and they were placed on duty in the East. 234 % 

Eight companies of the regiment of mounted riflemen marched from 
Fort Leavenworth in May 1849 for service in Oregon; in 1850, Bat- 
tery I of the 1st Artillery arrived in San Diego ; and by 1854 the 4th 
Infantry and the 1st Dragoons also were on the west coast. To prevent 
these organizations from dwindling away as did the two batteries of 
the 1st Artillery, additional recruiting facilities were provided in the 
East and the Department of the Pacific established a depot at San 

The nature of the service in the West made it desirable to keep mili- 
tary units as near authorized strength as possible. Posts were widely 
separated to cover the vast distances of the frontier. Hostile Indians 
frequently infiltrated these scattered positions, attacking settled com- 
munities and making roads unsafe for travelers without military escort. 
Many soldiers were required to protect parties of immigrants, military 

23 *Haskin, op. ext., pp. 121-44; James B. Fry, Army Sacrifices (New York, 1879), pp. 
70-95 ; S. Ex. Doc. 1, 31st Cong., 2d Sess., "Report of the Quartermaster General," Novem- 
ber 20, 1850, pp. 128-300. 



supply trains, working parties, and other groups. Maj. Gen. George 
M. Brooke, commanding headquarters of the Department of Texas, on 
28 July 1850 reported that so many men from the two companies of the 
8th Infantry at San Antonio were absent on scouting duty or escorting 
supply trains that there were not enough men at that post to mount a 
guard. 235 

Escort duty sometimes was performed by detachments of recruits 
on their way to the West. One such detail was furnished by Brevet 
Capt. G. Sykes, who commanded a detachment of 3d Infantry recruits 
organized at Jefferson Barracks during the summer of 1852. This 
detachment escorted 1,340 head of cattle from Fort Leavenworth to 
New Mexico for an Army contractor. 236 Military detachments were 
constantly on the alert to prevent Indian attacks from interrupting 
farming, stock raising, and other pioneer enterprises upon which the 
settlers relied for food. Infantry was at a disadvantage against 
mounted Indians who almost always were skilled riders, but there 
never was enough cavalry to cover the frontier. Mounted infantry, 
which was tried in a number of experiments, proved unsatisfactory 
because few infantrymen were capable horsemen. 237 

Congress, recognizing the additional burdens on posts in the Far 
West, on 17 June 1850 authorized 74 men for each frontier company. 238 
The President directed increased strength for the companies serving in 
Florida, Texas, New Mexico, 'California, Oregon, and Washington, as 
well as those stationed at Forts Snelling and Ripley on the upper 
Mississippi, Fort Eidgely, Minn., Fort Riley, Kans., Fort Arbuckle, 
Ark., Fort Kearny, Calif., and Fort Laramie, Wyo., those engaged in 
the Utah expedition, and those serving in Kansas. 239 The light 
artillery companies, including 2 in the 1st Artillery Regiment and 1 
in each of the other artillery regiments, remained at 64, which had 
been their strength before the act of 17 June 1850. By 1857, there 
were 178 companies at or en route to the western stations, making an 
increase of 5,112 privates and bringing the authorized strength of the 
Army to 17,875. If all 198 companies had been in remote posts, the 
Army would have been authorized 18,440 men. 

The Adjutant General, in 1852, examined the records relating to en- 
listment premiums in an, attempt to determine their effectiveness as a 

235 S. Ex. Doc. 1, 31st Cong., 2d Sess., "Report of the Secretary of War/' November 30, 
1850, pt. 2, p. 52. 

236 Letters Sent, Recruiting Service, 1852, p. 321 (9 June 1852). Records of the Recruit- 
ing Division, AGO. National Archives. 

237 S. Ex. Doc. 1, 31st Cong., 2d Sess., "Report of the Secretary of War," November 30, 
1850, p. 4. 

338 Act of June 17, 1850, "An Act to Increase the Rank and File of the Army and to 
Encourage Enlistments/' 31st Cong., 1st Sess. Copy in U. 8. Statutes at Large, IX, ch. 20, 
p. 438. 

239 S. Ex. Doc. 11, 35th Cong., 1st Sess., "Report of the Adjutant General," November 27. 
1857, pt. II, p. 63. 



recruiting stimulant. The $2 premium, payable to a person bringing 
in a recruit, was first established in 1792, but was paid only to com- 
missioned officers. The regulation was abolished 2 March 1833. Maj. 
Gen. Alexander Macomb, Commanding the Army, on 12 May 1837 
recommended to J. R. Poinsett, Secretary of War, that $1 be offered to 
persons in the Army who brought applicants to recruiting officers. 
His recommendation was adopted and published as an Army regula- 
tion, but an amendment on 1 July 1837 increased the payments to $2 
to speed up enlistments for the Seminole War. Soon thereafter there 
was an increase in the number of minors asking for discharges. This 
convinced officials that persons who sought to collect the premiums 
were inducing underage youths to enlist fraudulently. J. M. Porter, 
Secretary of War in 1843-^4, rescinded the regulation in 1843, and no 
premiums were paid until 3 November 1846, when W. L. Marcy, who 
had become Secretary of War in 1845, offered $2 premiums to stimulate 
Mexican War enlistments. The Ad j utant General's office, by a separate 
examination of recruiting accounts for 2 years prior to 1852, deter- 
mined that premiums usually were paid to recruiting sergeants, but 
seldom to private citizens. This investigation also disclosed that 
sergeants who sought to collect the fees sometimes misrepresented the 
ages of applicants. The regulation was again rescinded 2 August 
1852. Records thereafter indicated that fewer men were applying 
for enlistment, and for that reason payments were resumed 14 April 
1854 and continued until the Civil War, 240 when they were discontinued. 

Congress in 1850 granted an additional $2 a day to officers serving 
in California and Oregon to meet higher living costs in the Far West. 
The pay of enlisted men in the lowest grade was increased $4 in 1854, 
making $11 per month. Under the 1850 legislation, soldiers serving 
in the West were entitled to double pay, the Government retaining half 
of the increase until honorable discharges were issued. Veterans of 
the Mexican War received $2 per month additional. Each 5-year en- 
listment was rewarded with a bonus of $1 a month. 241 

From 1826 until the War with Mexico, the legal strength of the 
Army had averaged about 18 percent greater than the actual strength. 
Records of The Adjutant General indicate that before the Mexican 
War the Army lost annually an average of about 12% percent of its 
strength by desertion, about 7 percent by discharges, and 4 percent by 
deaths, making an average annual loss of 23y 2 percent. From the 

Letters Sent, Recruiting Service, 1852, p. 333 (26 July 1852). Records of Recruiting 
Division, AGO. National Archives ; Ibid., 185%, p. 501 (5 June 1854) ; "An Act Providing 
for the Better Organization of the Military Establishment," August 3, 1861, in WD GO 
54, 10 Aug. 1861. 

841 Act of September 28, 1950, "An Act Making Appropriations for the Support of the 
Army for the Year Ending the Thirtieth of June, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty 
One," 31st Cong., 1st Sess. Copy in V, S. Statutes at Large, IX, ch. 78, p. 504. 



Mexican War until 1853, the average annual loss increased to 28 per- 
cent, with approximately 16 percent desertions, 8 percent dis- 
charges for disability and other causes, and 4 percent deaths. This 
increase in losses increased the requirements for replacements. 

As nKve men were sent westward, the operation of the depots gradu- 
ally became more efficient. Facilities at Carlisle and Jefferson Bar- 
racks included rectangular wooden buildings with neat and comfort- 
able quarters for officers and men. The depot for instruction at Fort 
Wood, on Bedloe's Island in the harbor of New York, was moved to 
Fort Columbus, also in New York Harbor, on 26 November 1852. The 
depot for the collection and instruction of recruits for the mounted 
service was moved, in October 1853, from Carlisle Barracks, Pa., to 
Jefferson Barracks, Mo. All of the men employed in enlisting and 
drilling recruits were deducted from the number the law allowed the 

Two field officers, 14 captains, and 10 subalterns were employed on 
the General Recruiting Service during 1850, an average number for 
recruiting details from that date until the Civil War. Recruiting of- 
ficers intensified their efforts to keep companies at the increased 
strengths authorized by law, but losses were heavy along the long line 
of communications, and the frontier posts frequently were down to 
30 or 40 percent of their authorization. 

Enlistments in 1850 numbered 3,695, with 2,884 obtained through 
the General Recruiting Service. When the strength of the Regular 
Army was between 10,000 and 12,000 men, it was necessary to recruit 
about 4,000 each year. There were about 1,300 discharges for expira- 
tion of terms of service, 700 for disability, and 300 deaths annually ; 
about 1,700 deserted each year. It was necessary during the course of 
a year to recruit and transport from the depots to the frontier posts 
almost one-fourth of the Army, at an approximate cost of $121 per 
man. 242 

A medical officer's account of a trip, in July 1850, with a detachment 
of recruits from Carlisle Barracks to Fort Leavenworth by way of 
Jefferson Barracks, indicates the methods used in the distribution of 
men to the frontier companies. 243 Five commissioned officers were in 
charge of this group of 50 men when it was organized at Carlisle Bar- 
racks. The first stop was at New Post Barracks, Pa., where an addi- 
tional 130 men were added. From Harrisburg the railway and the 
canal boats transported the msn to Pittsburgh ; from there the steamer 
Asia took them to Newport Barracks, Ky., where 130 more recruits 
joined. The boat from Newport Barracks to Louisville was so old and 

242 S. Ex. Doc. 1, 33d Cong., 1st Sess., "Report of the Secretary of War," December 1, 
1853, pt. II, pp. 7-9. 

^Rodney Glisan, Journal of Army Life (San Francisco, 1847), pp. 8-27. 



dirty the men had little appetite for their meals, but at Louisville the 
contrast was pleasant when they boarded the Fashion^ described as one 
of the "most superb boats on the western rivers." 244 The prevalence 
of cholera caused the commanding general at Jefferson Barracks to 
divide the recruits into small groups, sending only 200 on the Fashion. 
The disease appeared among the men on the first day out and spread 
with fearful rapidity. The panic-stricken recruits asked to get off the 
boat and march the rest of the way, but the medical officers believed 
such exertion in the hot July sun would prove fatal. During stops for 
supplies or fuel, officers with drawn pistols stood guard to keep the 
men on the boat. Upon arrival at Fort Leavenworth, 4 days after 
leaving Jefferson Barracks, nearly every man was ill and several soon 

Although the depots attempted to provide capable soldiers, regi- 
mental commanders sometimes were dissatisfied. Maj. Gen. Persifor 
F. Smith, commanding the Pacific Division, on 25 May 1850 urged 
that more care be exercised in selecting men for the mounted regi- 
ment. He preferred Americans from the West. He wrote, "The 
refuse of all the depots has been assigned to the regiments, some- 
times to save transportation costs." 245 The letter called attention to 
one instance in which more than 100 recruits had deserted in a body 
while on the overland march to Oregon. These deserters made for the 
newly discovered gold mines of northern California. About 70 
later were recaptured after a chase of "one thousand miles/' Many of 
the deserters who were not captured perished, but a few hundred 
reached the northern mines. General Smith recommended against 
sending recruits to the West. He wanted men who were serving the 
final 2 years of their 5-year enlistment, and he suggested that they 
be selected for good conduct. 246 

Some regiments in the West returned one or two of their companies 
to the East to establish depots for recruiting, to train replacements, 
and to occupy military posts which could be manned by small garri- 
sons. The limited strength of the units in the West prevented the regi- 
mental depot system from coming into general use. The Commanding 
General of the Army in 1853 called attention to the advantages of regi- 
mental depots, pointing out that officers and men on depot duty would 
enjoy a break in the monotony of long service at remote stations. 247 

In 1855, the War Department and Congress realized that the in- 
crease in the size of companies serving in the West, authorized in 

^ IMd., p. 13. 

2^ S. Ex. Doc. 1, 31st Cong., 2d Sess., "Report of the Secretary of War," November 30, 
1850, pt. II, p. 76. 

2« s. Ex. Doc. 1, 33d Cong., 1st Sess., "Annual Report of the Commanding General of the 
Army," November 16, 1853, pt. II, p. 96. 



1850, had not fulfilled all of the military requirements. An act ap- 
proved 3 March 185 5 248 provided for the reactivation of the 1st and 
2d Cavalry and the 9th and 10th Infantry Regiments. 249 This in- 
crease in the Regular Army called for a large number of replace- 
ments and placed an extra burden on the recruiting service. Officers 
assigned to the new regiments Avere placed on recruiting duty. Higher 
headquarters prevented overlapping of recruiting efforts by assign- 
ing areas to each company. Whenever possible, officers were sent to 
places where they were acquainted. Each regiment appointed a field 
officer to inspect rendezvous and stations. The cavalry regiments 
established a school of instruction at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., and 
recruiting officers for the mounted service sought men largely in the 
rural areas where the population was familiar with horses. 

A captain, upon obtaining 40 men, marched them to regimental 
headquarters where the organization of a company was completed 
and the men were mustered into the service. Meantime the subalterns 
continued to recruit until the authorized 86 men were obtained for 
their companies. The War Department, recognizing the advantage 
of forming a regiment around a trained group of men, directed the 
superintendent of the General Recruiting Service to select, from the 
permanent party or from the best recruits at Fort Columbus and 
Newport Barracks, 20 men for each of the infantry regiments. No 
experienced men were available for the cavalry regiments. 

Because the Regular Army was unable to take care of all the mili- 
tary needs of the West, it was necessary to form Volunteer units in 
many places. Western communities did not have Militia until after 
territorial governments were established. Regular Army officers some- 
times called upon local settlers to fill vacant ranks in their companies, 
thus taking the replacement problem into their own hands. An ex- 
ample of this approach occurred during the Rogue Riyer Indian 
hostilities in Oregon in 1853 when Capt. B. R. Alden of the 4th In- 
fantry, with only 10 Regular Army soldiers, went to Jacksonville, 
Ore., to organize an expedition. 250 The frontier community had no 
civil officials with authority to enroll State troops. Captain Alden, 
acting upon his own authority, appointed four citizens "commission- 
ers of military affairs." Under decrees issued by these "commission- 
ers" the Army officer mustered into service all the men for whom he 
could obtain arms. Volunteers were informed that no pledge could 

218 Act of March 3, 1855, "An Act Making Appropriations for the Support of the Army 
for the Year Ending the Thirtieth of June, Ohe Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty Six, 
and for Other Purposes," 33d Cong., 2d Sess. Copy in U, S. Statutes at Large,, X, ch. 169, 
sec. 8, p. 639. 

249 wd Circular Letter contained in Letters Sent, Recruiting Service, 1855, p. 76 (2 Apr 
1855). Records of Recruiting Division, AGO. National Archives. 

250 S. Ex. Doc. 1, 33d Cong., 1st Sess., "Report on Indian Hostilities in Oregon," October 
18, 1853, pt. II, pp. 37-43. 



be given that they would be paid, but they were asked to take the 
chance that- Congress would appropriate the money. Brig. Gen. 
Joseph Lane, acting under a commission from the Governor of Oregon 
Territory, arrived at Jacksonville on 20 August 1853 and assumed 
command of the troops. The territorial government provided funds 
and later was reimbursed by Congress, a procedure which was gen- 
erally followed when companies were mustered on the frontier. These 
troops met the Indians in the battle of Table Rock, 22-26 August 
1853. A treaty of peace signed soon after ended the war and the 
Volunteers were disbanded. 

The Oregon and Washington Indian War of 1855-58 provides an 
illustration of the hostility which sometimes existed between the Regu- 
lar Army and the Volunteers. Maj. Gen. John E. Wool, commanding 
the Department of the Pacific, accused Gov. Isaac I. Stevens of Wash- 
ington Territory and Gov. George L. Curry of Oregon Territory of 
seeking personal gain through the fomenting of unrest among the 
Indians, a charge the governors denied. 251 General Wool gave orders 
to disarm all Volunteers in central Washington, but Col. George 
Wright, commanding the Regular troops that were operating against 
the Indians along with the Volunteers, avoided what might have been 
an armed clash between Regulars and Volunteers when he made no 
attempt to disarm the latter. 

In response to a requisition from the Governor of Kansas Territory, 
a detachment of United States troops, including the 1st Cavalry, a 
squadron of the 2d Dragoons, and a battalion of the 6th Infantry, 
assembled in the neighborhood of Lecompton, Kans., in August 1856, 
to repress a threatened insurrection. The General Recruiting Service 
depot at Jelferson Barracks, Mo., assigned men to the 6th Infantry 
so that its ranks were almost full at the time it arrived at Fort Leaven- 
worth. The 2d Dragoons and the 1st Cavalry needed both men and 
horses. In an effort to supply the men, recruiting officers were sent 
to St. Louis and other western points. Horses were purchased in 
Missouri. The acting Governor called out the Kansas Territorial 
Militia, but there was considerable delay in getting the men into the 
field. The Cheyennes attacked an immigrant train causing the Regu- 
lar troops to divide their attention between the civil disturbance and 
the fight with the Indians. By October, the condition of the territory 
was normal enough for an election, and General Smith, commanding 
the district, reported on 11 November that law and order had been 
restored. 252 A concentration of troops was retained in the territory 
for about a year. 

mis. Ex: Doc. 5, 34th Cong., 3d Sess., "Report of the Secretary of War," December 1, 
1856, pt. II, p. 184. 
252 iMd., pp. 28-146. 



Brig. Gen. A. S. Johnson during the winter of 1857-58 had under 
his command in Utah 8 companies of the 2d Dragoons, the 5th and 
10th Infantry, and 2 batteries of artillery. He reported that his force 
suffered from exposure during the severe winter, and that most of 
the casualties were from frostbite rather than disease. In the spring, 
about 850 replacements from the Jefferson Barracks Depot marched 
overland with the 6th and 7th Infantry Eegiments, the 1st Cavalry, 
and two companies of the 2d Dragoons, to reinforce the troops in 
Utah. The terms of service of a large number of men expired during 
the winter. Although they were practically marooned, few would re- 
enlist. The officers induced most of those who were discharged to sign 
contracts as Ordnance Department laborers; so their services were 
not lost. 253 

The Adjutant General, in a study published in 1857, compared the 
cost of Volunteers with the cost of Regular Army troops over a period 
of 22 years immediately preceding the date of the report. 254 The 
investigation indicated that 30 million dollars might have been saved 
by using Regular Army rather than Volunteer troops. From 1835 
until 1846, approximately 50,000 Volunteers were mustered into 
United States service for periods varying from 1 to 12 months, but 
usually for only 3 to 6 months. Nearly two-thirds of these troops 
were mounted and were therefore much more expensive than foot 
troops. During the Mexican War, there were about 18,000 mounted 
men among the 70,000 Volunteers. From the close of the Mexican 
War until 1857, there were 7,382 Volunteers in service, all except 472 
being mounted. These men had served in Florida, Texas, New Mexico, 
Kansas, and Oregon. The number did not include Volunteers in the 
Rogue River, Oreg., War or the Oregon and Washington conflicts of 
1855-58, for which The Adjutant General had received no rolls. 

The men who enlisted in the four regiments formed in 1855 com- 
pleted their terms of service and had to be replaced in 1860, the result 
being an unusually large demand for recruits that year. During the 
12 months ending 30 June 1860, the Army lost 6,220 men, including 
4,199 by discharge, 210 by death, and 1,811 by desertion. The recruit- 
ing service enlisted 4,733, giving the Army an actual strength of 
16,006, compared with an authorized strength of 18,114. 255 

An important event in regard to the transportation of replacements 
took place in 1860 when a wagon road between Fort Benton, on the 
headwaters of the Missouri River, and Walla Walla, on the Columbia 
River, was completed. The route was opened by Maj. H. A. Blake, 

263 S. Ex. Doe. 1, 35th Cong., 2d Sess., "Report of the Secretary of War," December 6, 
1858, pp. 31-223. 

254 S. Ex. Doc. 11, 35th Cong., 1st Sess., "Report of the Adjutant General," November 
28, 1857, pt. II, p. 82. 

266 S. Ex. Doc. 1, 36th Cong.. 2d Sess., "Report of the Adjutant General," November 20, 
1860, pt. II, p. 189. 



1st Dragoons, who left St. Louis 3 May 1860 with 13 officers and 292 
recruits, making the trip by the way of Fort Union. Although de- 
layed several times en route, the command arrived at the Coeur d'Alene 
Mission in Idaho by 15 September 1860, covering 3,000 miles by water 
and 600 by land, through an unknown wilderness, in 5 months with 
little more expense than would have been involved in a march of 
a similar distance through settled country. 256 

In summary, the recruiting service after the Mexican War con- 
tinued to meet the growing demand for replacements resulting from 
the extension of the military posts to the west coast. After 1850, 
enough men were provided for those posts to operate, although usually 
at less than authorized strength. By 1860, the Army had developed 
the recruit depots and was experimenting along lines similar to the 
replacement training camps of World Wars I and II. The replace- 
ment system was effective for peacetime operations. As the threat of 
the Civil War drew nearer, miiltary leaders failed to profit by peace- 
time experience. They failed to heed the warning of The Adjutant 
General who, in 1860, asked for a thousand unassigned recruits that 
could be used to keep regiments full. 257 The recruiting service, which 
had sustained the western posts, was permitted to lapse while atten- 
tion was centered on calls for volunteers, with the result that the 
efficiency of the Regular Army was adversely affected. 

The extent to which regiments on the frontier were provided with 
replacements is shown by the following table [table 2], which sum- 
marizes the monthly returns from four regiments for a 5-year period. 
All received replacements once a year or oftener. 

256 S. Ex. Doc. 1, 36th Cong., 2d Sess., "Report of the Secretary of War," December 3, 
I860, pt. II, pp. 6, 191. 

267 S. Ex. Doc. 1, 36th Cong., 2d sess., "Annual Report of the Secretary of War," Novem- 
ber 28, 1860, pt. II, p. 232. 

Table 2 — Monthly Strengths and Replacements Needed in Four Regiments on the 

Western Frontier: 1856-60 

Year and month 

9th Infantry- 

4th Infantry 

1st Mounted 

3d Artillery 











January _ _ 








February . . 









March _ . ._ 


















May._ --- - 










































October - - 


























346225 O - 55 - 6 



Table 2 — Monthly Strengths and Replacements Needed in Four Regiments on the 
Western Frontier: 1856-60 — Continued 

Year and month 

9th Infantry 

4th Infantry 

1st Mounted 
t Riflemen 

3d Artillery 




























March _ 


















May _ . 













( a ) 





July_- _ _ _ 























































January _ _ 
















1, 029 









1, 017 


April. . 







1, 002 









1, 001 




















August . _ _ 









September. . 





































January . _ _ 







1, 008 


















1, 004 


April __ 









May. _ _. 




































September _ _ . 









October . _ 


















December . . 



















February _ 




































June _ 


















August ^ 













































• Returns not available. 

Source: Regimental returns to the Adjutant General. AGO records. National Archives, 


For the months preceding the firing on Fort Sumter, it had been 
obvious to observers in Washington that hostilities between the 
Federal Government and the seceded States were but a matter of 
time. The inaction which characterized the months between the elec- 
tion of November 1860 and the inauguration of the Lincoln adminis- 
tration the following March may be attributed in part to the divided 
counsel of the Buchanan regime. South Carolina adopted an ordi- 
nance of secession in December, to be followed shortly after the be- 
ginning of the new year by other Southern States. Delegates from 
six of these States met at Montgomery, Ala., in February and formed 
a new union — the Confederate States of America. President 
Buchanan, while asserting that the Union was indissoluble, main- 
tained that the central authority had no power to coerce the seceding 
States into remaining in that Union. In the meantime, Government 
arsenals and property were seized, troops were raised, and measures 
were taken by the southern authorities to maintain their position by 
force. In Washington all was confusion. Some members of the Cabi- 
net were openly sympathetic to the cause of secession, including the 
Secretaries of the War and Xavy Departments. Members of Con- 
gress from the South continued to sit until their States had seceded, 
which prevented any Congressional action that might have strength- 
ened the position of the Federal Government. No attempt was made 
to cooperate with the incoming administration, and on 4 March 1861 
Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office as President of a nation 
which was already split. The Confederate Government had been in 
existence for a month. This political confusion explains to a great 
degree the astonishing lack of preparation to anticipate open hos- 

The regiments of the Regular Army were scattered largely along 
the double line of Indian frontier with their companies, in many 
cases considerably understrength, in garrison at isolated forts and 
stations. Even if the Regular force had been concentrated, it would 
hardly have proved a deterrent to the plans of the southern statesmen 
who were determined to secede. On 1 January 1861, the Regular 
Army had a paper strength of 16,402 of all ranks and a present 




strength of 14,657 officers and men. 1 But no one was prepared to 
make decisions and then act upon them. When Fort Sumter was fired 
upon in April, there was no plan of action in readiness, with the result 
that for almost the entire duration of the war, manpower policies 
were expedients devised to meet the needs of the moment with little 
or no thought given to those of the future. 

In April 1861, the President called upon the governors of the 
several States for 75,000 Militia to suppress the insurrections, but only 
those responded who were in sympathy with the aims of the Admin- 
istration. In fact, the President's call for Militia to enforce the laws 
drove additional States into the Confederacy, which, in turn, forced 
Lincoln to issue a call for 40 regiments of Volunteers for 3 years or 
the duration of the war, and to increase the Regular Establishment 
by 10 regiments. 2 

With the prospect of a material increase in the Regular Army plus 
the Volunteer regiments, Brevet Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott proceeded to 
draw up a plan of campaign which he hoped would end the conflict 
in the shortest possible time and with the least amount of bloodshed. 
This was the famous "Anaconda policy." As outlined in a letter to 
Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, then in command of the Ohio Militia, 
it was Scott's intention to use the 90-day Militia for defensive pur- 
poses only. By the time they would be ready to take the field, their 
term of service would have expired. For the serious fighting which 
he saw in store, the Regular and Volunteer regiments would undergo 
a period of several months' intensive training. In the meantime, a 
strict blockade was to be established along the Atlantic and Gulf 
coasts which would prevent the Confederacy from importing needed 
materials of war. When, and only when, the long-term regiments 
were fully trained, a gigantic column would be launched down the 
Mississippi Valley to complete the encirclement of the Confederacy 
and bring about its collapse. And in concluding his letter Scott 
wrote : 

A word now as to the greatest obstacle in the way of this plan — the great 
danger now pressing upon us — the impatience of our patriotic and loyal Union 
friends. They will urge instant and vigorous action, regardless, I fear, of 
consequences — that is, unwilling to wait for the slow instruction of (say) 
twelve or fif teeu camps, for the rise of the river, and the return of frosts to 
kill the virus of malignant fevers below Memphis. I fear this; but impress 

1 "Final Report made to the Secretary of War by the Provost Marshal General, of the 
Operations of the Bureau of the Provost Marshal General of the United States, from 
the Commencement of the Business of the Bureau, March 17, 1863 to March 17, 1866 ; 
the Bureau terminating by Law August 28, 1866," hereafter cited as "Fry's Report," 
Messages and Documents, War Department, 1865-1866, pt. 3 (Washington, 1866), I, p. 6. 
For the history of mobilization during the Civil War, see Lt. Col. M. A. Kreidberg and 
Lt. M. G. Henry, "History of Military Mobilization in the United States" (Special Studies 
Series, OCMH), ch. IV. 

3 W T D GO 15, 4 May 61 ; WD GO 16, 4 May 61. Copies in The War of the Rebellion: 
A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, hereafter 
referred to as Official Records (Washington, 1880-1901), ser. Ill, vol. I, pp. 380-83. 



[the] right view, on every proper occasion, upon the brave men hastening to 

the support of their Government . . . . 3 
Unfortunately, the brave men who hastened to the support of the 
Government were too eager to come to grips with the enemy to pay 
much attention to the ideas of the aged General in Chief. In the end 
his plan was the one which brought the war to a close, but only after 
a tremendous expenditure of blood and wealth. 

The President's call for 500,000 men brought out a total of 700,680 
Volunteers, organized before the end of the year into 560 regiments 
of infantry, 82 regiments of cavalry, and 15 regiments of artillery. 4 
The paper strength of the Eegulary Army had risen to 22,425 by 
1 January 1862 with 19,871 actually present. 5 But simply raising 
an army could not insure a successful outcome of the war, and from 
the point of view of the men who had to direct the operations in the 
field, two important problems were never satisfactorily solved by 
the political policy makers. 

The first of these problems was imposed by the geographic reali- 
ties of operations against the Confederacy. As the Union armies 
advanced down the Mississippi valley, lines of communication became 
longer. The conquered populations were, in almost every instance, 
bitterly hostile, and it become necessary to garrison or constantly 
patrol every mile of railroad and navigable stream to prevent, or 
at least control, acts of sabotage on the part of the Confederate sym- 
pathizers. This meant that increasingly large numbers of troops 
were tied down in what were essentially occupation duties. The expe- 
dients which were adopted to meet this situation were almost always 
unsatisfactory and short-term, both in conception and effect. The 
second problem was the rapid turnover of personnel which has come 
to be known as the "replacement problem." Although the peak 
strength of the Army scarcely exceeded 1,000,000 men, 2,778,304 were 
credited to the several States and Territories. 

Depletion of the Armies 

The Administration gambled on the early suppression of the rebel- 
lion and lost. Although the normal period of enlistment was for 3 
years, regiments were sometimes accepted for a shorter period. Thus 
in jbhe first call for 500,000 men, 9,000 troops from Ohio, Indiana, 
Minnesota, Missouri, and Kentucky were enlisted for 1 year, while 
nearly 31,000 New York men were accepted on the basis of a 2-year 
enlistment. In 1862 and 1863, therefore, the problem of replacing 

3 Msg, Scott to Maj. Gen. Geo. B. McClellan, 3 May 61. IMd., ser. I, vol. LI, pt. I, pp. 

* IMd., ser. Ill, vol V, pp. 1019-29. 

s "Fry's Report," pt. I, p. 102. This figure represents the closest approximation of actual 
to paper strength achieved by the Regular Army during the entire war. 



these regiments would have to be faced. The situation during the 
summer of 1863 was further complicated by the fact that the Presi- 
dent had called for 300,000 nine months' Militia on 4 August 1862. 
Less than 88,000 responded to this call, but their terms of service also 
began to expire that summer. 6 A manpower crisis followed which 
became most acute as the veteran Army of Northern Virginia forded 
the upper Potomac and struck north into Maryland and Pennsyl- 
vania. Regardless of the imminent danger, the troops insisted on 
being discharged the day their time was up. 

Other commanders faced this and similar problems. Of the 56 
infantry regiments in the Department of the Gulf, 22 consisted of 
9 months' men whose terms began expiring in May. 7 In all, it was 
estimated by Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, General in Chief, that in 
addition to suffering ordinary casualties, disease, and sickness, the 
armies would lose some 75,000 to 80,000 men during June, July, 
and August for this reason. 8 

An even more serious situation arose as it become evident that the 
war was not going to be ended before the terms of the 3-year regi- 
ments of 1861 expired. Although the policies adopted in this con- 
nection were pursued with a considerable degree of success, some 
300 regimental organizations containing more than 50,000 men were 
mustered out of the service between 1 November 1863 and 31 October 

1864. 9 The end of the war in the spring of 1865 came just in time 
to avert a similar crisis in the case of the 3-year regiments raised in 

A second continuing drain on the manpower of the armies was dis- 
charge for disability. Such discharges, totaling 224,306 to 1 August 

1865. 10 derived from two sources: service-connected disabilities and 
those which stemmed from the lack of any proper system for examin- 
ing recruits before their muster in. Considering the state of medicine 
and surgery in the mid- 19th century, the number of discharges for 
disabilities incurred in the service was quite small. 11 

On the other hand, complaints were heard soon after the mass army 
began to be raised of the negligent manner in which physical examina- 
tions were being conducted before muster-in. A survey conducted by 

6 The "Consolidated abstract from the returns for the U. S. Army" for 30 Apr 65 gives 
the aggregate, present and absent of 1,052,038. Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. IV, pp. 1265- 
70 ; 1283. 

7 Rpt, Maj. Gen, Nathaniel P. Banks, sub : Operations in the Department of the Gulf, 16 
Dec 62-31 Dec 63. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXVI, pt. I, p. 7. 

8 Msg, Maj. Gen. H. W. Halleck to Brig. Gen, Quincy A. Gillmore, 28 Jul 63. Ibid., ser. I, 
vol. XXVIII, pt. II, p. 29. 

•WDAGO, "Exhibit of Recruits (volunteers and drafted) for old and new organizations 
forwarded to the field, ... 1 Nov 1863-31 Oct 1864/' 17 Nov 64. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. IV, 
p. 813. 

10 "Fry's Report," I, pp. 78-79. 

11 Msg, Ex. Comm. U. S. Sanitary Comm. to Pres Lincoln, 21 Jul 62. Official Records, 
ser. Ill, vol, II, p. 236. 



the United States Sanitary Commission estimated that as many as 
25 percent of the men mustered into the service of the United States 
in 1861 were unfit for service. Twenty-nine percent of all regiments 
were mustered in with no pretense of a thorough medical inspection. 
The Commission recommended that hereafter "no new recruits should 
be accepted until they have been examined by medical officers of the 
United States Army, entirely without personal interest in the filling 
up of any regiment." 32 Surgeon Charles S. Tripler, the Medical 
Director of the Army of the Potomac, asserted that not only had the 
examining surgeons been negligent but they must- have been corrupt 
as well. 13 

A ffirther drain on military manpower was the astounding num- 
ber of desertions. The threat of the death penalty was not enough to 
deter tens of thousands of soldiers from deserting, especially after it 
became evident that this extreme penalty was seldom enforced. Large 
numbers of soldiers sent home on sick leave or furlough simply 
neglected to come back. So prevalent had this form of absenteeism 
become by the summer of 1862 that letters were sent to the governors 
of all loyal States inviting their cooperation in tracking down the 
delinquent soldiers. 14 

On 31 July 1862, all officers and enlisted men on leave or furlough, 
capable of rejoining their commands, were ordered to do so by 11 
August on pain of being considered deserters. All United States mar- 
shals, mayors, chiefs of police, sheriffs, postmasters, and justices of 
the peace were authorized to act as special provost marshals in appre- 
hending fugitives. 15 The effect of this order was largely negative, 
however. In December, the Provost Marshal General, Col. Simeon 
Draper, estimated that upwards of 100,000 men were absent from their 
commands without leave. Three thousand deserters had been appre- 
hended in the eastern states and Colonel Draper was hopeful that with 
proper organization he might be able to catch as many as one-third of 
those absent without proper authority. 16 

With the reorganization of the office of the Provost Marshal Gen- 
eral and its establishment as a separate bureau of the War Depart- 
ment, in March 1863, the machinery for the apprehension and return 
of deserters was made considerably more efficient. 17 The increased 
activity of the Provost Marshal General's Bureau did not produce a 
reduction in the number of deserters from the armies, the chief bene- 

12 Ibid., p. 237. 

13 Rpt, Surg C. S. Tripler, 7 Feb 63, sub : Operations of the Army of the Potomac, 12 
Aug 61-17 Mar 62. Ibid,, ser. I, vol V, pp. 81-82. 

14 Msg, Brig. Gen. C. P. Buckingham to the governors, 23 Jul 62. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. II. 
pp. 247-48. 

15 WD GO 92, 31 Jul 62. Ibid., 286-87.. 

16 Msg, Draper to Stanton, 6 Dec 62. Ibid., pp. 939-41. 

"Col James B. Fry estimated that nearly 22,000 deserters had been apprehended by 
the officers of his bureau between 1 May and 1 Nov 63. See Msg, Frv to Stanton. 17 Nov 
63. fbid., ser. Ill, vol. Ill, p. 1052. 



fit resulting from its vigilance being that more of those who deserted 
were caught and returned to their commands. Indeed, the inaugura- 
tion of the draft, with its provisions for substitution called into being 
a professional class, similar to that of revolutionary days, known as 
"bounty jumpers" who would enlist in one locality, collect the bounty 
and substitute fee, desert at the earliest opportunity, and repeat the 
process again in some other community. 18 It became necessary to 
send replacements by water from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, 
and Baltimore, to the armies operating against Richmond. 19 

Even the threat of imprisonment in the Dry Tortugas (islands in 
the Gulf of Mexico) and loss of citizenship failed to deter desertion. 20 
198,829 enlisted men deserted during the course of the war. 21 Of 
these, only 75,909 were arrested by the officers of the Provost Marshal 
General's Bureau and returned to duty. 22 In spite of every precaution 
to prevent the desertion of recruits and drafted men en route to the 
front, such defections continued to be numerous until the very end 
of the war. 

A continual reduction in the strength of the Army resulted from 
deaths due to disease and enemy action. Throughout the war, deaths 
from sickness always outnumbered those from battle by about 2 to 
1. Sick lists were large, and at unfavorable seasons of the year 
might run to almost one-third of the aggregate force. Under these 
circumstances it is not surprising that the death toll was large. 
Official records show that 359,528 officers and enlisted men of the 
Federal Army died during the war. Of these, 110,060 were killed 
in action or died of wounds received in action, and 224,586 died of 
disease. 23 

These were the problems facing the War Department in its en- 
deavors to maintain an army capable of suppressing the rebellion. 
In spite of ample warning, the outbreak of actual hostilities found 
a new administration, experiencing its first term of national office, 
without any plan whatever for restoring the Union. The Secretary 
of War, Simon Cameron, had won his office as a political reward; 
the General in Chief was 75 years old ; and few officers in the Union 
Army had commanded so much as a brigade in action. It was per- 
haps inevitable, therefore, that the War Department had to struggle 

"Lafayette C. Baker, The Secret Service in the Late War (Philadelphia, 1874), quoted 
in Henry Steele Commager (ed.), The Blue and the Gray: The Story of the Civil War as 
told by Participants (Indianapolis, 1950), II, p. 732. 

19 Msg, Halleck to Grant, 17 Sep 64. Official Records, ser. I, vol. XLIII, pa. II, p. 96. 

20 WD GO 76, 26 Feb 64 ; WD GO 35, 11 Mar 65. IMd., ser. Ill, vol. IV, pp. 137, 1229. 

21 "Fry's Report," I, pp. 78-79. 

22 Msg, Fry to Stanton, 17 Mar 66. Official Record®, ser. Ill, vol. V, pp. 677-78. 

23 Heitman, op ext., II, p. 286, "Fry's Report," pt. I, pp. 78-79. 



along from crisis to crisis, resorting to all sorts of expedients to raise 
and maintain the armies necessary to conquer a population which 
numbered scarcely more than a third that of the loyal states. 

The Regular Army 

General Scott was long past the age when he could perform actual 
field duty, but he did devise a plan of action which envisaged a 
slow strangulation of the Confederacy. In the execution of this 
plan the Regular Army was to play a leading role. The spearhead 
of the expeditionary force, which was to split the rebellion in two, 
was to be composed of an expanded force of Regulars. Scott's expe- 
rience both in the War of 1812 and the conflict with Mexico had 
given him a contemptuous regard for any other kinds of troops. 
This "Anaconda policy" called for the expansion of the Regular Army 
to a strength of some 25,000 men. 24 

The Regular Army on 1 January 1861 consisted of 1,098 officers 
and 15,304 enlisted men, present and absent, which was about 4,200 
officers and men short of the maximum authorized strength. Of this 
number there were present 727 officers and 13,930 enlisted men. Dur- 
ing the period 1 January 1861 to 1 January 1862, more than 300 
officers resigned their commissions and went over to the Confed- 
eracy. 25 The President, in a proclamation on 3 May 1861, increased 
the Regular Establishment by eight regiments of infantry and an 
additional regiment each of cavalry and artillery, thereby increasing 
the strength of the Army by 22,714. 26 If each regiment were recruited 
to maximum strength the Regular force would thus have totaled 1,570 
officers and 41,819 enlisted men. 27 

But all chance of recruiting the Regular Army to its authorized 
strength was lost when the Administration decided to fight the war 
principally with Volunteer organizations. The Volunteer regiment, 
with its shorter term of service, the idea of serving with one's friends 
and neighbors, and the laxer discipline wrought by popular election 
of company and regimental officers, was an attraction against which 
the Regular recruiting service could not hope to compete. As a 
result, the Regular Army never attained more than five-eighths of its 
authorized strength and much of the time it was considerably below 
this figure. 28 Various expedients were adopted in a vain attempt 

2i Msg, Scott to McClellato, 3 May 61. Official Records, ser. I, vol. LI, pt. I, pp. 369-70, 
35 "Fry's Report/' pt. I, pp. 6-7. 

26 WD GO 16 Washington, 4 May 61. Copy in Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. I, pp. 154-57. 

27 Msg, Brig. Gen. E. D. Townsend to SW Edwin M. Stanton, 20 Oct 65. IMd., ser. 
Ill, vol. V, pp. 127-30. 

28 »p r y's Report," pt. I, p. 102. 



to stimulate recruitment of the Kegulars, but the results during 1861 
were so disappointing that Secretary Cameron suggested that the 
distinction between Regulars and Volunteers be abolished for the 
duration of the war and that the combination of both forces should 
be designated the "Army of the Union." 29 

During the campaigns of 1862, the main strength of the Regular 
Infantry was concentrated in 2 brigades, one — consisting of the 15th, 
16th, 18th, and 19th Infantry — serving with the Army of the Cum- 
berland, and the other — consisting of the 2d, 3d, 4th, 6th, 10th, 11th, 
12th, 14th, and 17th Infantry — serving with the Army of the Potomac. 
The regiments of cavalry and the batteries of Regular Artillery were 
assigned to various divisions of the several armies. The losses sus- 
tained were heavy in the extreme. The Regular units engaged in 
the Peninsular Campaign suffered a total of 1,210 casualties, about 
5 percent of the entire Regular Army. 30 

As a result of these losses the War Department on 9 October issued 
its celebrated General. Orders 154, which permitted the commanding 
officers of all Regular units serving in the field to appoint recruiting 
officers to solicit enlistments from among the Volunteers by holding 
out special inducements. 31 The term of service was reduced to 3 years, 
or that portion of 3 years which the Volunteer had yet to serve if he 
so desired. Promotion to noncommissioned and commissioned grades 
was promised for "distinguished and meritorious" service. This order 
was supplemented on 21 October by General Orders 162, which 
enlarged the field of recruiting activity to include not only the Volun- 
teer regiments on active duty, but also those which were still organ- 
izing in the loyal States. 32 In addition, a Federal bounty of $100, $25 
payable in advance, plus a $2 premium was offered to all who took 
advantage of the opportunity to enlist as Regulars. On 24 October, 
however, the Army of the Potomac set 5 November as the date when 
such recruiting should cease, and recruiting officers were cautioned 

29 Rpt. SW Cameron to Pres Lincoln-, 1 Dec 01. Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. I, p. 704. 

30 WDAGO, "Organization of Troops and Return of Casualties in the Army of the Po- 
tomac during the Operations before Richmond, Va., June 25-July 2, 1862, inclusive." 
Ibid., ser. I, vol. XI, pt. II, pp. 24-41. 

31 General Orders War Department Adjutant-General's Office 

No. 154 Washington, October 9, 1862 

The commanding officer of each regiment, battalion, and battery of the Regular Army 
in the field will appoint one or more recruiting officers, who are hereby authorized to en- 
list, with their own consent, the requisite number of volunteers to till the ranks of their 
own command to the legal standard. 

The enlistments will be made in the usual mode, and for three years, or the remaining 
portion of the three years which the volunteer has yet to serve if he so prefer. 


As an inducement to volunteers to enlist in the Regular Army, it will be remembered 
that promotion to commissions therein is open by law to its meritorious and distinguished 
non-commissioned officers, and that many have already been promoted. 
Source: Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. II, p. 654. 
M WD GO 162, 21 Oct 62. Ibid., p. 67C. 



not to take more than a fair proportion of men from any one regi- 
ment. 33 

Reaction from the several States set in almost immediately, and 
with considerable heat. The private secretary of Gov. Oliver P. 
Morton of Indiana wrote that General Orders 154 was "a great embar- 
rassment to officers of volunteer corps who have spent considerable 
time and money in raising their regiments," and stated that "no other 
one thing is creating so pernicious an influence on the Army as this.'' 34 
Gov. John A. Andrew of Massachusetts charged that the measure 
discouraged Volunteer officers, had a bad effect on enlistments, and 
was subversive of discipline. It would be better, he said, to encourage 
volunteering for the 9 months' regiments, then in the process of organ- 
ization, whose officers would be appointed by the Governor of Massa- 
chusetts. 35 The energetic Adjutant General of Iowa, Nathaniel B. 
Baker, claimed that the controversial order was "discouraging in 
results, of no benefit to any service, but great injury," and on behalf 
of the Iowa regiments he asked that General Orders Nos. 154 and 162 
be revoked. 36 The upshot of this storm of protest was that all recruit- 
ing for the Regular Army among Iowa Volunteers was discontinued 
at once, and in February 1863 General Orders Nos. 154 and 162 were 
rescinded. 37 

This abortive attempt to recruit the ranks of the Regular Army had 
apparently no success except in arousing the suspicions and hostility 
of the state executives. Early in December, Assistant Adjutant Gen- 
eral E. D. Townsend wrote to Secretary Stanton that great concern 
was felt for the Regulars who had gained comparatively few recruits 
because of the length of enlistment required of them, and the greater 
bounties offered to the Volunteers. Townsend suggested that Congress 
reduce the enlistment period to 3 years during the war period. 38 Al- 
though the strength of the Regular Army on paper had risen to 25,463 
by January 1863, the number of officers and men present, 19,169, was 
actually less by 702 than at the beginning of the year. 39 

In the meantime, the strength of the units in the field continued to 
dwindle. The commanding officer of the 2d Infantry in January 1863 
requested permission to consolidate the companies of the regiment and 
reduce the number from nine to six. The average number of men pres- 
ent for duty including noncommissioned officers was 21 per company, 
and but 7 company grade officers were available for duty with the 

38 Hq, Army of the Potomac GO 167, 24 Oct 62. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XIX, pt. II, pp. 476-77. 

34 Msg, Halloway to Stanton, 29 Oct 62. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. II, p. 694. 

35 Ltr, Andrew to Lincoln, 4 Nov 62. IMd., p. 737. 

36 Ltr, Baker to Lincoln, 10 Nov 62. Ibid., p. 760. 

37 Msg, Vincent to Hindershott, 22 Nov 62. Ibid., p. 863 ; WD GO 38, 10 Feb 63. Ibid., 
ser. Ill, vol. Ill, p. 38. 

38 Msg, Townsend to Stanton, 3 Dec 62. Ibid., pp. 1110-11. 

39 "pry's Report," pt. I, p. 102. 



regiment. The request was approved by the division and corps com- 
mander and by Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, the commander of the 
Grand Division, of which the 2d formed a part. General Meade's in- 
dorsement noted that similar consolidation would also be necessary in 
all the Regular regiments and recommended that steps be taken to 
reduce each regiment to the number of companies which the number 
of men present would make at war standard. 40 Even those units which 
were not engaged with the major field armies were unable to main- 
tain themselves at anything like full strength. Brig. Gen. George 
Wright, commanding the Department of the Pacific, informed The 
Adjutant General that all efforts to fill up the companies of the 9th 
Infantry and the 3d Artillery, then stationed on the Pacific coast, had 
been futile and that the rendezvous had been closed for lack of business. 
General Wright suggested that "we might enlist men in the East for 
the army on this coast ; men who would not enlist for service East being 
anxious to come to California," 41 What General Wright neglected 
to add was that men enlisted under such conditions would more likely 
than not have deserted to the gold fields at the earliest opportunity. 

The General Recruiting Service, which had rendered such efficient 
service during the 1850's, apparently sank to an unimportant role. In 
April 1861, Brevet Col. C. F. Smith was directed to repair to Fort 
Columbus, New York Harbor, and assume the duties of superintend- 
ent, and in June all functions of the General Recruiting Service were 
concentrated iti New York with the discontinuance of the Superin- 
tendency for the Western Department. 42 But in spite of the continu- 
ing existence of the General Recruiting Service, the nine new regi- 
ments authorized in April and May were recruited under the super- 
intendence of their own commanding officers. 43 Little mention is made 
of the General Recruiting Service during 1861 and 1862, although the 
regimental recruiting depots seem to have sent small numbers of re- 
cruits to the front. The headquarters records of a number of the Regu- 
lar regiments in the Department of the East during the first 6 months 
of 1863 show that recruits were being enlisted, although certainly Jiot 
in large enough numbers to offset losses incurred through battle, dis- 
ease, and desertion. 44 

In the summer of 1863, a determined effort was made to stimulate 
enlistments in the Regular Army. A large bounty was offered amount- 
ing to $402, with $40 payable in advance and the balance paid in in- 

40 Ltr, March to Sellers, 31 Jan 63. Official Records, ser. I, vol. XXV, pt. II, p. 14. 

41 Ltr, Wright to Thomas, 1 May 63. Ibid., ser. I, vol. L, pt. II, p. 418. 

42 WD GO 12, 27 Apr 61 ; WD GO 36, 24 Jun 61. 

43 WD GO 33, 18 Jun 61. 

44 WDAGO, "Abstracts from returns of the Department of the East, Maj Gen John K. 
Wool, U. S. Army, commanding, for month of January 1863." Official Records, ser. I, vol. 
XXV, pt. II, p. 36 ; WD A GO, "Abstracts ... for June 30, 1863." Ibid., ser. I, vol. 
XXVII, pt III, pp. 456-57. 



stallments until discharge. 45 But this was offset by the offer of an 
equal bounty to Volunteers. A month later the General Recruiting 
Service was overhauled, its procedures were simplified, and the super- 
intendent w T as given control over the regimental recruiting services 
as well. General Orders No. 245 stipulated that the superintendent 

Civil War recruiting required various expedients. 

must be a brigadier general in the Regular Army. This order also 
directed that officers and enlisted men incapacitated for field duty but 
still capable of performing garrison service be organized into invalid 
companies to be stationed at the regimental depot as a permanent 
party. 46 In spite of simplifying the recruiting machinery, the results 
were not impressive. The bounty offer was extended to 1 December 
and then to 25 June 1864, but on 1 January 1864 the total strength of 
the Regular Establishment had dropped to 24,636 officers and men, of 
whom a record 7,399 were not available for duty. 47 

In January 1864, the favorable Federal bounty was offered to all 
Regulars who would reenlist at the expiration of their term of service. 1S 

« WD GO 190, 25 Jun 63. Ibid,, ser. HI, vol. Ill, p. 414. 
< 6 WD GO 245, 28 Jul 63. Ibid., pp. 582-83. 

47 WD GO 338, 16 Oct 63. Ibid., p. 887 ; WD GO 386, 1 Dec 63. Ibid., p. 1106 ; "Fry's 
Report/ 1 pt« I, p. 102. 

« WD GO 25, 18 Jan 64. Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. IV, p. 35. 



But in April the Adjutant General's Office reported that the 4th Infan- 
try was reduced to 4 companies and 329 men ; the 9th Infantry to 8 
companies and 321 men, and the 4 companies of the 10th Infantry to 
no more than 263 men. 49 Throughout the year, various expedients 
were resorted to«in order that the Regulars could keep the field at all. 
Whole units nevertheless were relieved of duty in the field and ordered 
north to recruit. 50 

The number of enlistments and reenlistments in the Regular Army 
from 1 January to 31 October 1864 [see table 3] represents an actual 
turnover of more than 50 percent, for in spite of the relatively large 
number of recruits obtained in 1864, the aggregate strength of the 
Regular Army continued to decline. By January 1865, the total num- 
ber present and absent was 22,019, a reduction of 2,617 from the previ- 
ous year's figure, while the number present was 14,661. 51 

In all, the Regular Army enlisted, of reenlisted more than 19,500 
men between 31 October 1864 and 1 October 1865, but these enlistments 
were distributed among the regiments in an extremely irregular 
manner as the following table [table 4] indicates. 

Table 8 — Enlistments and Reenlistments in the Regular Army: 1 Jan. — 31 Oct. 1864* 











13, 019 

12, 103 


2, 294 

1, 775 

1, 021 


General Service 

4, 202 

3, 997 






Mounted Service 

1, 564 

1, 384 






5th Artillery 








11th Infantry 








12th Infantry 








13th Infantry 








14th Infantry 

1, 009 







15th Infantry 








16th Infantry 

1, 352 

1, 301 






17th Infantry . _ 








18th Infantry . _ _ 








19th Infantry 








Engineer Corps _ , . 








Signal Corps 




49 Msg, Kelton to Burnside, 22 Apr 64. IMd., ser. I, vol. XXXIII, p. 945. 

80 Btry L, 1st Arty was relieved from duty in the Department of the Gulf in June by 
WD SO 200, 7 Jun 64. In October, the entire 17th Inf, then serving with the Army of 
the Potomac, was ordered to New York to report to the Superintendent of the Recruiting 
Service by Hq, Army of Potomac SO 276, 12 Oct 64. Copies of these orders in Official 
Records, ser. I, vol. XXIV, pt. IV, p. 256 and ser. I, vol. XLII, pt. Ill, p. 178, respectively. 

5i "Fry's Report," pt. I, p. 102. 



Table 3. — Enlistments and Reenlistments in the Regular Army: 1 Jan. — 31 Oct. 

1864*— Continued 


Enlistments — Continued 










1, 463 

1, 570 

1, 107 


General Service. . _ 







Mounted Service 







5th Artillery 







11th Infantry 






12th Infantry _ 







13th Infantry 







14th Infantry _ _ 







15th Infantry 







16th Infantry 







17th Infantry . „ 






18th Infantry 







19th Infantry.. ... 






Engineer Corps . 




Signal Corps 


*Source: Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. IV, p. 812. 

Table 4 — Enlistments and Reenlistments tn the Regular Army: 
31 Oct. 1864—1 Oct. 1865* 



General Service. _ 
Mounted Service. 

1st Cavalry 

2d Cavalry. __ 

3d Cavalry 

4th Cavalry 

5th Cavalry 

6th Cavalry 

1st Artillery 

2d Artillery 

3d Artillery, _ 

4th Artillery 

5th Artillery 

1st Infantry. - 
2d Ijifantry. - 
3d Infantry. . 
4th Infantry 


19, 555 

4, 698 
3, 033 





5th Infantry 

6th Infantry 

7th Infantry 

8th Infantry 

9th Infantry 

10th Infantry 

11th Infantry 

12th Infantry 

13th Infantry 

14th Infantry 

15th Infantry 

16th Infantry 

17th Infantry 

18th Infantry 

19th Infantry 

Engineer Corps 

Ordnance Corpse- 
Military Academy 

•Source: Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. V, p. 133. 
















New Regiments 

{os Units) 




(as Units) 

Units Converted 
to Infantry 

Federol Control 

— State Control 

Replacement Flow 

Federol Control after Muster 

The conclusion is inescapable that, except for furnishing many of 
the general officers who eventually won the war, the Regular Army, as 
such, had very little influence on the outcome of the struggle. The 
total number of men who served in this branch was estimated at 67,000, 
but there never were as many as 20,000 present at one time. 52 Of 448 
companies authorized, 153 had not been organized by the end of the 
war. 53 [See chart 4 for organization of the Regular and Volunteer 

Losses from all causes among the Regulars amounted to 29,231, of 
which 16,365, or about 56 percent, were from desertion. Split up into 
minor detachments, scattered about in widely separated armies, and 
unable to compete successfully with the Volunteer organizations for 
recruits, the Regular Army was hard put to maintain its separate ex- 
istence, let alone influence significantly the outcome of the war. 
Strangely enough, it was a group of civilians who, early in the war, 
correctly stated the role of the small professional army in wartime. 
The executive committee of the United States Sanitary Commission 
in a report to the President asserted : 

If we have learned anything, it has been that it was a mistake to keep the 
Regular Army and the Volunteer Army separate. Had the regulars been from 
the first intermingled with the volunteers they would have leavened the whole 
lump with their experience of camp police, discipline, subordination, and the 

**Ibid., pp. 83, 102. 

63 J. D. Ingersoll, A History of the War Department of the United States (Washington, 
1880), p. 370. 



sanitary conditions of military life. We should have no Bull Run panic to 
blush for. . . . M 

The Volunteers 

From the very first call for Volunteers in the spring of 1861 to the 
demobilization in the summer of 1865, political considerations and 
political pressures exercised as much influence in the councils of the 
administration as did those of a purely military nature. The Presi- 
dent's call of 3 May 1861 for volunteers for 3 years or the duration of 
the war authorized the formation of 39 regiments of infantry and 1 of 
cavalry, organized into brigades and divisions with appropriate staffs. 
The maximum strength contemplated for the Volunteers was 42,034. 55 
The Secretary of War was directed to fix the quotas of the various 
States under this call, 56 but nowhere was a limit placed on the strength 
of these regiments once they were organized and sent to the field. By 
early July, Cameron was able to report that the call for volunteers had 
been oversubscribed, and that to date some 200 regiments had been 
accepted for 3 years, more than 150 of which were then on active 
duty. 57 

When Congress convened in special session on 4 July, it not only 
approved the steps taken by the President and the Secretary of War 
but authorized, first, an army not to exceed half a million volunteers 
and, second, the employment of as many volunteers as the exigencies 
of the situation might direct. 58 Before the end of August, 266 regi- 
ments of infantry, 27 of cavalry, and 7 artillery regiments, besides 
numerous independent companies and batteries, had been accepted. 59 
The call of 3 May as expanded by congressional action eventually 
raised 560 infantry regiments, 82 cavalry regiments, and 15 regiments 
of artillery, plus about 200 separate companies and batteries, 60 with 
a total strength of 700,680. 61 

The replacement problem, so far as War Department recognition 
was concerned, initially developed in connection with the disposal of 
troops who had been taken prisoners of war. The first decision was 

54 Msg, Ex Coram U. S. Sanitary Comm. to Pres Lincoln, 21 Jul 62. Official Records, 
ser. Ill, vol. II, p. 237. Grant suggested that the Regular Army be disbanded altogether, 
with the officers to receive no compensation unless they joined the Volunteers. See U. S. 
Grant, Personal Memoirs (New York, 1885), I, p. 283, 

53 WD. GO 15, 4 May 61, Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. I, pp. 151-154. 

G « See the letters of SW Cameron to the governors, of the loyal States. Ibid. } pp. 203-04. 
Ibid., pp. 203-04. 

57 SW Cameron to Pres Lincoln, 1 Jul 61. Ibid., pp, 303-04. 

WD GO 48, 31 Jul 61. Ibid., pp. 372-374. 
59 Msg, Lesley to McClellan, 26 Aug. 61. Ibid., pp. 455-456. 

w Emory Upton, The Military Policy of the United States (Washington, 1912), p. 267. 
Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. IV, pp. 1264-1270. 

346225 O 55-7 



to discharge them- from the service, and it was so ordered on 28 August 
1861. 62 This applied to men released on parole as well as those still 
held by the Confederacy. 63 . Such a prodigal use of manpower was 
discontinued in November when the Secretary of War directed that 
all officers and enlisted men "now prisoners in the hands of the ene- 
my or reported missing in action, or that may hereafter be taken pris- 
oners or reported missing in action/' should be transferred to skeleton 
regiments set up for the purpose by the State governors. "The Va- 
cancies thus occasioned in the organized regiments will be filled by 
the Governors of the various States to which the regiments belong." 64 
This attempt to deal with the losses incurred through capture by the 
enemy was apparently not a great success, for authority to transfer 
those captured to Secretary Cameron's skeleton regiments was re- 
voked on 20 February 1862, and the men who had previously been 
assigned to these units were ordered to be reassigned to their original 
regiments on 10 May. 65 

In the meantime, McQlellan had been assigned to the command of 
the armies on the retirement of General Scott, and under his direc- 
tion the War Department radically reorganized the entire recruiting 
system. General Orders No. 105, which went into effect 1 January 
1862, virtually transferred all recruiting authority to the War De- 
partment. It provided that no more regiments, batteries or inde- 
pendent companies were to be raised by the governors except on the 
requisition of the Department. Superintendents of the Volunteer 
Recruiting Service were appointed for each State, and recruiting for 
all regiments raised or to be raised was placed under the direction of 
these superintendents. The commanding officers of regiments were in- 
structed to detail 2 officers and 4 noncommissioned officers for 6 months 
to report for duty to the superintendents of the Volunteer Recruiting 
Service in their respective States. 66 

As interpreted by Secretary Cameron, General Orders No. 105 
meant that the Administration was satisfied that it had raised enough 
troops to finish the rebellion, and that all that was now necessary was 
to set up machinery to maintain the existing regiments at full strength. 
"As the recruiting will be done by volunteer officers,' 7 wrote Cameron, 
"it is believed that a sufficient number of men will be obtained from 

62 General Orders No. 69, 28 Aug 61, was the sole provision of the War Department con- 
cerning replacements. This instructed the commanding officers of the Volunteer regiments 
to keep their commands up to strength by detailing recruiting parties from time to time 
in the districts in which the regiments were raised. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. I, p. 461. 

63 Msg, McKeever to Sturgis, 10 Oct 61. Official Records, ser. II, vol. I, p. 134. 

64 WD GO 102, 25 Nov 61. Ibid., ser. II, vol. Ill, p. 141. 

08 WD GO 17, 20 Feb 62. Ibid., p. 287 ; WD GO 51, 10 May 62. Ibid., p. 529. 
»° WD GO 105, 3 Dec 61. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. I, pp. 722-723, par. X and XIII. 



time to time to meet the requirements of the service." 67 Cameron 
resigned from the Cabinet effective 14 January 1862 and was replaced 
by Edwin M. Stanton. 

There is little evidence to show that during the early months of 1862 
the new system was much of a success. Before the opening of the 
spring campaigns, which would have increased the need for a steady 
flow of replacements, Secretary Stanton abruptly discontinued the 
Volunteer Recruiting Service. 68 No satisfactory explanation has ever 
been made of Stanton's action, which turned out to be one of the major 
blunders of the war. The Secretary's own explanation was that all 
recruiting was stopped "for the purpose of compelling governors to 
make returns." 69 

One immediate result of Stanton's order was that by the middle of 
May the War Department was again appealing to the loyal governors 
for new regiments to be raised as quickly as possible. 70 The Volunteer 
Eecruiting Service was also reestablished in early June, 71 and 
although commanding officers had been authorized in May to requisi- 
tion the governors for recruits to fill up depleted regiments, 72 the 
machinery through which these requisitions could be filled had already 
been dismantled by Stanton's order and the new general orders came 
too late to repair the damage. 

Disease and the normal losses incident to military operations com- 
bined to reduce the regiments at a fearful rate. Many regiments, even 
at the beginning of the spring campaigns, could not muster half the 
minimum authorized strength for duty. To the commanders in the 
field the simple and obvious remedy for a problem which was rapidly 
assuming the most serious proportions was not a whole army of new 
regiments, but replacements to bring the old regiments up to their 
authorized strength. Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, commanding the 
Army of the Ohio, stated that "some plan of recruitment for the regi- 
ments now in service is rapidly becoming a matter of vital impor- 

61 Cameron to Gov. Edwin D. Morgan, N. Y., 26 Dec 61. Ibid., pp. 760-761. The 
implications of this order have been variously interpreted. From McClellan's later corre- 
spondence there seems good reason to believe that he intended the dtder to mean that 
it said — that the Federal Government after 1 Jan 62 would exercise strict control over all 
recruiting activities. The conventional theory, advocated by Upton and his successors, 
scoffs at the idea that the Administration ever seriously entertained an inclination to 
challenge. State control of recruiting. This point of view is well expressed by Fred A. 
Shannon in The Organization and Administration of the Union Army, 186 1-186 5 (Cleve 
land, 1928), I, p. 265 : "This would seem to be a serious effort to recover national prestige 
by centering all initiative in recruiting in the War Department. As applied it was no 
such a thing. It was, in effect, a declaration that the governors had finished the work 
and done it well, and that now, since no more new organizations were needed, the Federal 
Government felt able to maintain the army at that standard. 1 ' 

68 WD GO 33, 3 Apr 62. Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. II, pp. 2-3. 

69 Msg, Stanton to Halleck, 1 May 62. Ibid., p. 29. 

70 Ltr, Thomas to the governors of the loyal States, 19-21 May 62. Ibid., pp. 44-61. 

71 WD GO 60, 6 Jun 62. Ibid., p. 109. 

Msg, Stanton to Halleck, 1 May 62. Ibid., p. 29. 



tance." 73 On 14 July, General McClellan told the President that he 
would rather have his old regiments filled up than have new ones or- 
ganized. In a letter to Governor Morgan of New York he asserted 
that the greatest benefit to the service would accrue from filling up the 
old regiments to their maximum standard. Fifty thousand recruits 
in the old regiments would be more valuable than 100,000 in new ones, 
he stated. 74 

The executive committee of the U. S, Sanitary Commission, 
commenting on the President's call for 300,000 men of 2 July, indi- 
cated an understanding of the situation wholly lacking in many of the 
Governors : 

. . . The loss of life by debility, disease, and immaturity — ten times that 
of our bloodiest battles — is wholly unnecessary ; that of every ten men lost by 
the Army during the past year nine have been needlessly wasted; that by 
proper medical inspection of recruits the material of disease can be reduced ; 
and then by a proper distribution of the raw recruits among the regiments 
already formed, ... it would save the country sooner or later, thousands 
of lives and millions of dollars. We would get a far better class of men. They 
would have a thorough medical inspection, and every man would soon cease to 
be a raw recruit when absorbed into a veteran regiment. Thus all our year's 
costly experience would be saved, and the perils of ignorance, inexperience, 
and crudity be avoided. . . , 75 

The Sanitary Commission was considerably ahead of its time, and 
since its influence at the polls was insignificant no attention was paid 
to its recommendations. 

The call of 2 July, to which the Sanitary Commission had refer- 
ence, 76 might have provided an opportunity for the War Department 
to regain control of the recruiting machinery in order to keep the old 
regiments up to strength. It did nothing of the kind, however. On 
7 July, authorization from the Department went out to the governors 
for an aggregate of 150 new regiments, which virtually guaranteed 
that any attempt to recruit for the old regiments would end in 
failure. 77 

Nonetheless, throughout the summer conscientious efforts were made 
to fill the old regiments at the same time the new ones were being 
raised. On 28 July, regimental commanders were directed to increase 
their recruiting details at once, and newly enlisted men were permitted 
to choose the company within the regiment for which they enlisted. 78 

73 Msg, Buell to McLean, 26 Apr 62. Ibid., ser. I, vol. X, pt. II, p. 621. 
7 * Msg, McClellan to Lincoln, 14 Jul 62. Ibid., ser. II, vol. IV, p. 210 ; Msg, McClellan 
to Morgan, 15 Jul 62. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. II, p. 225. 

75 Msg, Ex Comm U. S. Sanitary Comm. to Pres Lincoln, 21 Jul 62. Ibid., pp. 237-238. 

76 This call was made, for morale purposes, to appear as the spontaneous call of the 
governors for a more vigorous prosecution of the war. See the correspondence between 
Stanton and the governors. Ibid., pp. 188 ff. 

77 Msg, Buckingham to the governors, 7 Jul 62. Ibid., p. 208. 

78 WD GO 88, 25 Jul 62. Ibid., p. 250. 



In the middle of August, the War Department notified each governor 
of the number of men required to bring the regiments of his State up 
to strength. 79 But the governors were not willing, in many instances, 
to accept the War Department's figures, nor did they evince any great 
enthusiasm for devoting their energies to recruiting for their old regi- 
ments. 80 

The recruiting system became quite complicated with the passage 
of the Militia Act of 1862. This law, approved by the President on 
17 July, authorized the Executive to accept such number of Volunteers 
as might be offered for a period of 12 months unless sooner discharged ; 
to order a draft of 300,000 militia for 9 months' service unless sooner 
discharged ; and finally to order a draft from the Militia to fill any 
deficiency in the call of 2 July for 300,000 Volunteers for 3 years. 81 
This was a makeshift plan at best and was enacted over the objections 
of the War Department. Assistant Adjutant General Buckingham 
expressed the concern of the Department in a letter to Gov. F. H. Peir- 
pont of Virginia (or that part of the State which remained loyal) . "It 
may be doubted," he wrote, "whether mixing 1 year's men with those of 
old regiments for 3 years will be judicious. Also whether 9 months is 
not too short a time for any," 82 

It soon became obvious that the draft was not ta be utilized per se 
as a means of raising men, but rather as a threat to stimulate recruiting 
for the new 3-year regiments and for the old regiments in the field. 
A Presidential order of 14 August provided that no bounty or ad- 
vance pay was to be given after 15 August except to Volunteers for 
new regiments not yet recruited up to the authorized strength, or to 
Volunteers for the old regiments. Advance pay and bounty for the 
latter were authorized until 1 September. If the old regiments were 
not filled up by 1 September a special draft was to be ordered to make 
good the deficiency. 83 The War Department also stipulated that any 
excess of volunteers would be credited against this draft quota, but 
only if the old regiments had been filled in the process. 84 

This succession of orders thoroughly confused and alarmed the gov- 
ernors. Immediately they demanded that recruiting for the old regi- 
ments be permitted to continue until the date set for the Militia draft. 

79 WDAGO, "Statement showing number of men for old regiments furnished by States 
August 15-November 21, 1862. . . 21 Nov 62. Ibid., p. 861. 

80 The unwillingness of the governors to cooperate wit hthe War Department is shown 
in the following : Msg, Noble to Stanton, 29 Aug 62. Ibid., p. 485 ; Msg, Schouler to 
Buckingham, 20 Aug 62. Ibid., p. 419 ; Msg, Yates to Stanton, 21 Aug 62. IMd., p. 429. 

81 Act of July 17, 1862, "An act to amend an act calling for the Militia to execute the 
laws of the Union etc.," published for the information of the Army in WD GO 91, 29 J J 62. 
Ibid., pp. 280-282 ; WD GO 94, 4 Aug 62. Ibid., pp. 291-292. 

83 Msg, Buckingham to Gov. F. H. Peirpont of Va., 23 Jul 62. Ibid., pp. 248-249. 

ss WD GO 109, 16 Aug 62. Ibid., p. 397. 

8 *Msg, Buckingham to Baker, 15 Aug 62. Ibid., p. 390. 



The War Department finally capitulated and on 4 September directed 
the governors to continue to accept Volunteers for the old regiments, 
with advance pay and bounty until further orders. 85 

The first Militia draft was ordered for Ohio on 1 October, and to 
the very end of the war Secretary Stanton was harassed to a greater 
or lesser degree by pressure from the various governors. 86 As it turned 
out, the whole business of the Militia draft was a miserable fiasco. Of 
the 300,000 whom it was proposed to draft, only 87,t588 were ever mus- 
tered into the service of the United States. 87 Ten states furnished no 
troops at all under this order and the great preponderance of those 
furnished found their way not into the depleted ranks of the old regi- 
ments but into 73 new 9 months' regiments. Only Indiana, Pennsyl- 
vania, and Nebraska, which had been assigned no quota, furnished a 
surplus of about 21,500 men who presumably werer assigned to the old 
regiments. 88 

The attempts to recruit the old regiments by Federal and State agen- 
cies during 1862 must be set down as a dismal failure. The call of 2 
July for 300,000 men for 3 years eventually produced 421,465 men, 
but less than 50,000 of these were assigned to the old regiments. The 
Militia draft, designed to raise 300,000 nine-month men, brought in less 
than 90,000, of whom about 21,500 went to maintain the regiments of 
1861. Thus, the regiments whose minimum needs were 233,000 on 15 
August had received only about 71,000 by the end of the year. Fred- 
ericksburg and Stone's River provided terrible baptisms to the new 
Army, and, by the opening of the spring campaigns in 1863, the need 
for replacements was as great as it had been the year before. 

Throughout the year, commanders in the field had resorted to var- 
ious expedients in addition to maintaining recruiting details in an ef- 
fort to maintain the effective strength of their commands. These ef- 
forts lay chiefly in the direction of securing recruits from among the 
Unionist elements in those Southern States which were occupied by 
the armies during 1862. Confederate authorities complained that 
their paroled prisoners in New Orleans were enlisting in the North- 
ern Army, and in May, Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, commanding 
the Department of the Gulf, directed the regiments of his command 
to fill up their ranks in this manner. 89 Loyal residents of northern 
Alabama were encouraged to enlist in Union regiments rather than 

85 Msg, Buckingham to the governors, 4 Sep 62. Ibid., p. 512. 

88 See ltrs, Thomas to Stanton, 1 Nov 62, 2 Nov 62, 4 Nov 62, 7 Nov 62, 8 Nov 62. Ibid., 
pp. 714, 716, 738, 743-744, 746. 

87 From a list showing quotas and credits of militia draft under order of 4 Aug. 62. Ibid., 
p. 291 f. n. 

88 Ibid.; See also "Exhibit of the number of organizations . , . organized and mustered 
into the service. . . . Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. V, pp. 1019-1029. 

89 Msg, Duncan to Pickett, 13 May 62. Ibid. f ser. I, vol. VI, p. 535 ; Msg, Butler to 
Stanton, 16 May 62. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XV, p. 424. 



to attempt to form their own units 90 while Grant was authorized to 
enlist Union sympathizers from Tennessee into his old regiments. 91 
The great drawback to this method of recruitment was that, under 
its conscription law, the Confederacy considered every able-bodied 
man as a member of the military and guilty of desertion if he enlisted 
in the Union forces. 92 This method of recruiting the old regiments 
never assumed large proportions, and it is almost impossible to de- 
termine the number of replacements it obtained. 

To even the most enthusiastic supporters of the Volunteer system, 
it had become obvious by the end of 1862 that the strength of the 
Army could not be maintained by voluntary enlistments alone. In 
spite of increasingly high bounties it became more and more difficult 
to obtain recruits either for new organizations or for the old regi- 
ments. Moreover, with the addition of the three-hundred-odd regi- 
ments raised under the call of 2 July 1862, there were now more than 
800 regiments constantly in the need of replacements. Even though 
the Army had recruited 509,053 3-year and 9-month men, its strength, 
which had totaled, present and absent, 527,804 Avith an aggregate 
present of 477,193 on 31 December 1861, had risen on 31 December 
1862 to an aggregate present and absent of 868,591 and a total pres- 
ent of 664,163. But these figures do not present an accurate picture. 
On the last day of 1861, there were 425,405 officers and men present 
for duty ; by 31 December 1862 the number present for duty had been 
increased by only 130,553 to 555,958 officers and enlisted men. 93 

The only alternative to the existing system seemed to be some form 
of enforced military service. The Militia draft of the previous year, 
executed under the direction of the State executives, had proved to 
be a complete failure. It seemed, therefore, that any system of com- 
pulsory service must be administered under the auspices of the Fed- 
eral Government. Moreover, the adoption of conscription by the 
Confederacy in the spring of 1862 was not without influence. The 
editor of the powerful New York Tribune, Horace Greeley, came out 
in support of conscription after its passage in the Confederate Con- 
gress. Greeley had opposed conscription on moral grounds, but felt 
that since it had been adopted in the South it was proper that the 
North should resort to it as well. To this end legislation designed to 
establish Federal conscription was introduced into Congress, a bill 
was passed and received Presidential approval on 3 March 1863. En- 
titled "An Act for enrolling and calling out the national forces, and 
for other purposes," it was, according to one of its chief congressional 

90 Msg, Fry to Streight, 10 Jul 62. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XVI, pt. II, p. 118. 

91 Msg, Halleck to Grant, 1 Sept. 62. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. II, p. 496. 

63 Msg. Butler to Halleck, 14 Nov 62. /bid., ser. II, vol. IV, p. 708. 

« "Consolidated abstract from returns of the U. S. Army," on or about 31 Dec 61. Ibid., 
ser. Ill, vol. I, p. 775 ; "Consolidated abstract from returns of the U. S. Army," on or 
about 31 Dec 62. Ibid,, vol. II, p. 957. 



supporters, Senator Henry Wilson (Republican, Massachusetts), de- 
signed to provide replacements for the regiments already in the field. 
"The Nation needs not new regiments and more officers," he said, "it 
needs new bayonets in the war-wasted ranks of the veteran regi- 
ments." 94 

The bill, as passed, stated that all citizens, with certain exceptions, 
between the ages of 20 and 45 were liable for military service for a 
period of 3 years at the discretion of the President. Quotas were to 
be assigned to enrollment districts, usually equivalent to a congres- 
sional district or such smaller geographical division as the President 
might direct, and the process of enrollment and conscription was 
to be under the direction of The Provost Marshal General, with the 
authorities in each district responsible to him alone. All persons 
drafted "shall be assigned by the President to military duties in 
such corps, regiments, or other branches of the service as the exigen- 
cies of the service may require." All this was to the good and might 
have provided a solid basis on which to bring the existing regiments 
up to authorized strength. But the Congress added two conditions 
under which men conscripted might avoid personal service, and these 
gave rise to abuses which all but wrecked the efficient operation of 
the law. It was stipulated that any person drafted might provide a 
substitute to serve in his stead, or that by the payment of a flat sum 
not to exceed $300 he would be exempt from the operation of that 
draft. The necessity for more than one draft was not foreseen by 
Congress, and the interpretation of this clause caused considerable 
bitterness resulting in its repeal in 1864. These two provisions fur- 
nished an argument hard to answer for those who charged that the 
conscription law was designed to exempt the well to do and shift 
the burden of service on those classes of the population who could 
neither afford to hire a substitute nor pay the commutation fee. 9Fi 

The conscription bill was an omnibus affair — it provided that when 
the strength of a regiment had fallen below one-half the maximum 
authorized by law its companies were to be consolidated and all 
surplus officers were to be discharged. This was an ill-conceived 
measure which brought immediate protests from the commanders in 
the field, who argued rightly that they would lose large numbers 
of experienced and valuable officers by the operation of this enact- 
ment. The regimental returns to the end of the war indicate that 
this law was more honored in the breach than in the observance. 
This same act also set up the conditions for the reenlistment of 
troops whose terms should expire before the conclusion of the war. 

91 Speech of Hon. Henry Wilson, Congressional Globe, 37th Cong, 3d Sess, pp 976-1002. 
Quoted in Shannon, op. cit., I, pp. 311-312. 

05 P. L. No. 54 was published for the information of the Army in WD GO 73 f 24 Mar 63. 
Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. Ill, pp. 88-93. 



And in accordance with the provisions of the act 96 Col. (later Brig. 
Gen.) James B. Fry was detailed as Provost Marshal General. The 
passage of the bill had been received with considerable hope by com- 
manders in the field, who believed that it would supply the manpower 
necessary to maintain efficiency in their commands. Maj. Gen. 
William S. Rosecrans, commanding the Department of the Cumber- 
land, expressed the opinion that it would increase the power of his 
army by 50 percent within 2 months. 97 Sherman wrote that the 
President now had the powers which should have been granted at 
the beginning of the war. He hoped that Lincoln would call out large 
masses of men, mainly privates, to fill up the vacanies in the old 
regiments. 98 The War Department ordered a general muster of 
"all troops in the service of the United States, wheresoever they may 
be" for 10 April in order that the muster-rolls might be used by The 
Provost Marshal General in making drafts to bring all units up to 
strength. 99 

Again in June General Sherman wrote General Grant — 

... If the draft be made, and the men be organized into new regiments 
instead of filling up the old, the President may be satisfying a few aspiring 
men, but will prolong the war for years and allow the old regiments to die 
of natural exhaustion . . . But fill up our present ranks, and there is not 
an officer or man Of this army but would feel renewed hope and courage to 
meet the struggles before us. 

... If adopted, it would be more important than the conquest of Vicksburg 
and Richmond together, as it would be a victory of common sense over the 
popular fallacies that have ruled and almost ruined our country. 

On 19 June, Grant forwarded this letter to Lincoln with his approval 
expressed in the following words : 

... A recruit added to them [old regiments] would become an old soldier, 
from the very contact, before he was aware of it. 

. . . Taken in an economic view, one drafted man in an old regiment is 
worth three in a new one. 100 

By 1 July,- the process of enrollment in the various districts was so 
far complete that The Provost Marshal General was able to commence 
drafting in some of them. During the process of enrollment the office 
of The Provost Marshal General had figured out the quota of each 
State and district, based upon population and the number of men 
previously furnished to the armed forces. From these calculations 
it was found that several States had exceeded their quotas on previous 
calls, and that it would not be necessary to order a draft. Here it was 

96 WD GO 67, 17 Mar 63. Ibid., p. 74. 

w Msg, Rosecrans to Halleck 25 Feb 63. Ibid,, ser. I, vol. XXIII, pt. II, pp. 84-85. 
98 Maj.' Gen. W. T. Sherman to Gov. David Tod of Ohio 12 Mar 63. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. Ill, 
pp. 65-66 ; Msg, Grant to Lincoln, 19 Jun 63. Ibid., pp. 386-388. 
e» WD GO 82, 1 Apr 63. Ibid., p. 109. 

ioo Ltr, Grant to Lincoln, 19 Jun 63, w/incl, ltr, Sherman to Grant, 2 Jun 63. Ibid., 
pp. 386-388. 



that the avowed intention of the conscription act first was violated. It 
was of absolutely no avail to the depleted regiments of Ohio or Illinois 
to state that previous quotas had been oversubscribed. The satisfac- 
tion derived from a knowledge that the State had done more than its 
duty filled no regimental vacancies. On 1 July, Colonel Fry ordered 
a draft in the 3d Massachusetts District, followed by similar orders for 
districts in Maine, Delaware, and New York, before the end of the 
month. 101 

This inaugurated a bitter struggle between the State authorities 
and The Provost Marshal General. Scarcely a governor would admit 
that his State had been given the proper credit for previous calls. The 
Democratic Governor of New York, Horatio Seymour, insisted that 
the heavily Democratic districts of New York City and Brooklyn had 
been deliberately assessed high quotas in order to insure a Republican 
victory at the next election and asked that the draft in those places 
be suspended until an investigation could be made. 102 But above all, 
the governors desired to use the threat of a draft to stimulate Volunteer 
recruiting. Governor Andrew wanted to recruit conscripts for his 
Massachusetts regiments so that they might qualify for the State 
bounty, a request peremptorily refused by the Secretary of War. 103 
The governors of New Jersey and Wisconsin, professing not to be 
sufficiently prepared for a draft, were authorized to continue volunteer 
enlistments until such time as they were ready. 104 There were notable 
exceptions to this clamor, however. On 10 July, Gov. James Y. Smith 
of Rhode Island reported that the draft was progressing favorably 
in his State and that the people were accepting it cheerfully, and 
Abner Coburn, Governor of Maine, was solicitous that the conscripts 
raised in the State be distributed in the best interests of the service. 105 

The reluctance of the governors was not the only problem with which 
the Provost Marshal General had to contend. Very soon after actual 
drafting began it became apparent that a class of professional sub- 
stitutes was springing up whose chief aim was to collect the substitute 
fee, and who had no intention of actually serving in the Army. Capt. 
W. Silvey, the Acting Assistant Provost Marshal General for Rhode 
Island, wrote as early as 22 July that "the class of substitutes accepted 
and now offering are scoundrels and thieves and cannot be kept 
securely." Two days later, Rep. John D. Baldwin of the 8th District 

10 * Ltr, Fry to State governors and provost marshals, 1 Jul 63. Ibid., pp. 462-463. 
103 Msg, Seymour to Lincoln, 8 Aug 63. Ibid., pp. 639-640. 

103 Msg, Andrew to Stanton, 18 Jul 63. Ibid., p. 537; Msg, Stanton to Andrew, 21 
Jul 63. Ibid., p. 551. 

1M Msg, Fry to Salomon, 1 Aug 63. Ibid,, p. 611. 

105 Msg, Smith to Stanton, 10 Jul 63. Ibid., p. 482; Msg, Coburn to Fry, 15 Aug 63. 
J bid., p. 679. 



of Massachusetts informed the Secretary of War that "most of the 
substitutes will desert, if possible, as soon as they get the money." 100 
The result of these and similar letters was a circular from the office 
of the Provost Marshal General directing the local enrollment boards 
not to muster in substitutes unless they were prepared either to guard 
them closely or send them immediately to the designated rendezvous 
point. 107 

In spite of delays, necessary and contrived, drafted men soon began 
to appear in the ranks of the regiments in the field. But the military 
commanders were thoroughly disillusioned by fall. The man on 
whom fell the .duty of administering the draft [see chart 5], Colonel 
Fry, wrote to Senator Wilson that the conscription law as it then 
stood was "essentially a law not to secure military service,, but to 
exempt men from it." 108 In a pessimistic vein Halleck informed 
Sherman that his ranks could not be strengthened by the current 
draft. "It is almost a failure, as nearly everybody is exempt. It 
takes more soldiers to enforce it than we get by it. A more compli- 
cated, defective, and impracticable law could scarcely have been 
framed." 109 In a report to the Secretary of War, Colonel Fry dis- 
closed that in those districts for which statistics were available, 30 
percent of the men examined were excused for physical disability ; 
another 30 percent were exempted for other reasons; and 40 percent 
were held to service. Of these, about one-half paid the $300 com- 
mutation fee ; and only 20 percent of all those examined either hired 
a substitute or served in person. 110 Of 107,236 men examined in 40 
districts that had completed their draft by 1 November, 10,402 fur- 
nished substitutes, and and 3,922 were held to personal service. 111 If 
this proportion of men obtained to men examined were to hold good, 
The Provost Marshal General estimated that the approximately 
3,000,000 men enrolled would produce a total of 426,000 soldiers. Ac- 
cording to Colonel Fry : 

Under the circumstances, the present law may be properly called one for 
'enrolling and calling out the national forces but if it is one calculated to 
raise and maintain an army I cannot see it. 

He added : 

There is no sophistry which can disguise the fact that it is not in proper 
shape to recruit the Army. 

108 Msg, Silvey to Fry, 22 Jul 63. Ibid., p. 558 ; Msg, Baldwin to Stanton, 24 Jul 63. 
Ibid., pp. 563-564. 

WD Clr 56, 23 Jul 63. . Ibid., p. 559. 

108 Msg, Fry to Wilson, 16 Sep 63. Ibid.,^. 801. 

109 ^j S g i Halleck to Sherman, 1 Oct 63. Ibid., ser. I, vol. LII, pt. I, p. 716. 

110 Msg, Fry to Stanton, 19 Oct 63. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. Ill, pp. 893-895. 

m j?ro m ' Consolidation of Final Reports from all districts in which the draft was 
completed up to November 1, 1863." Ibid., pp. 1068-1069. 





And : 

I don't see however, that legislation should be shaped to suit this momen- 
tary state of affairs ; on the contrary in a measure of this kind, it strikes me 
that the object should be to create a system by which the General Govern- 
ment can surely and practically and promptly create and recruit an army 
either for the campaign of 1864 or 1874. 112 

Despite the fact * that Congress repealed the obnoxious commuta- 
tion clause in 1864 and the law was so interpreted as to permit a man 
threatened with being drafted to hire a substitute before he was 
drafted, 113 the operation of the law contributed a relatively small 
number of men to the armed forces. Beginning with the call of 17 
October 1863, which embraced the draft commenced on 1 July, 1,173,- 
522 men were«called into service before the end of the war. 114 Of 
this number, 170,039 were furnished by the draft, as shown in the 
following table : 

Table 5 — Men Furnished by the Draft: 1863-1865* 



Held to 

for drafted 

for enrolled 
men prior to 




52, 037 

75, 421 

42, 581 

Draft of 1863 



9, 848 

26, 002 

Draft Under Calls of February and 

March 1864 



3, 418 

8, 903 

Draft Under Call of July 1864 



26, 205 

28, 502 

29, 584 

Draft Under Call of December 1864_ 



12, 566 

12, 014 

12, 997 

* Source: Official Records, ser. Ill ,vol. IV, pp. 927-28, and vol. V ,pp. 486-87. 

Insofar as the drafted men almost without exception were sent to 
the old regiments as replacements, the operation of the conscription 
law was beneficial and agreed with the purpose for which it was 
enacted. But it did not go far enough — it did not provide manpower 
in anything like the numbers necessary to maintain the field organi- 
zations at effective strength. It was the Volunteer system which fur- 
nished the bulk of the replacements during the final 2 years of the 

The slow process of enrolling the manpower of the North and get- 
ting it into uniform, together with the urgent necessity of strength- 

113 Msg, Fry to Hon H. S. Lane, M. C, 20 Dec 63. Ibid., pp. 1175-1177. 

«An Act further to regulate and provide for the enrolling and calling out of the 
national forces, and for other purposes," published for the information of the Army in 
WD GO 224, 6 Jul 64. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. IV, pp. 473-474. 

n* "Abstract frym official records showing the forces called for. . . Ibid.^ pp. 1264- 



Civil War inspection. 

ening the armies in the field, brought a return to Volunteer recruiting. 
Again, instead of insisting that all men so raised be assigned to exist- 
ing units, the War Department authorized the governors to raise 
additional regiments. Beginning with permission to the Governor of 
Pennsylvania to recruit 10 regiments of infantry and 5 of cavalry 
on 29 May 1863, Stanton let the bars down progressively until 40 regi- 
ments of all arms had been authorized. 115 While this was probably 
the quickest method to get troops into the field, it was no solution to 
the problem of filling up the old regiments. Their strength continued 
to decline, and after the heavy losses incurred at Chancellorsville, 
Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Chickamauga, their plight was indeed 

The Office of The Adjutant General had computed that the several 
States had furnished the following number of recruits to the old 
regiments from 1 January to 31 October 1863 : 

116 Meg, Fry to Gov of Pennsylvania, 29 May 63. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. Ill, p. 240. 
Authorizations to other State executives are found on pp. 329, 373-374, 736, 795-796, 
799. See also "Exhibit of the number of organizations . . . t "op.cit. 


State Recruit* 

Total 21, 331 

Connecticut., __ 343 

Illinois 833 

Indiana 2, 728 

Iowa 364 

Kentucky 691 

Maine _. . 454 

Maryland 741 

Massachusetts 1, 016 

Michigan 1, 619 

Minnesota 125 


Stale Recruits 

Missouri 3,683 

New York 2, 997 

New Jersey 795 

New Hampshire 49 

Ohio 1, 561 

Pennsylvania. _ 1,266 

Rhode Island. _ 1,036 

Vermont 126 

West Virginia. , . , 433 

Wisconsin . . 116 471 

The average strength of the 33 regiments of XXI Army Corps, 
which participated in the battle of Chickamauga, 19-20 September 
1863, was 325, more than 500 men below the minimum standard au- 
thorized by law. 117 Thus, if every one of the recruits obtained for the 
old regiments had been assigned to XXI Army Corps, it would still 
have been below the maximum strength of 1,025 officers and men per 
regiment authorized by law. 

It was the recruiting efforts of the regiments themselves which 
enabled the Army to maintain itself. Without the replacements ob- 
tained by the veteran regiments, more units would have been con- 
solidated or broken up. The armies in the field continued their efforts 
to obtain recruits in the occupied areas. The IX Army Corps, trans- 
ferred from the Army of the Potomac to the Army of the Ohio, found 
itself operating in the mountains of eastern Tennessee and western 
North Carolina where Union sentiment was supposed to be strong. 
The commanding officer of the corps, Brig. Gen. K. B. Potter, at- 
tempted to capitalize on this sentiment and published an invitation 
to enlist which set forth the advantages to be obtained by joining an 
old and battle-tested organization : 

Headquarters Ninth Army Corps, 
Camp near Knoxville, Tenn., October 19, 18G3 


The men of East Tennessee and North Carolina are invited to enlist in the 
regiments and batteries of the Ninth Army Corps, General Burnside's old 
command. This celebrated corps, composed of men from every loyal portion 
of the Union, having served in Virginia, in Maryland, in North and South Caro- 
lina, in Mississippi and Kentucky, having covered its banners with the mottoes 
of victory, has now brought its arms to the defense of Tennessee. By enlisting 
in old regiments recruits at once gain all the comforts and conveniences possi- 
ble to a soldier^ and are saved from the discomforts, delays, sickness, and 
dangers arising from ignorance and indifference to which all new organizations 
are subject, and which cause so much sickness and death. Men enlisting in 

no "Exhibit of volunteers and militia mustered into the service of the United States from 
the 1st day of January 1863, to the 31st day of October 1863." Official Records, ser. III. 
vol. HI, p. 1080. 

ii7 -Return of the casualties in the Twenty-First Army Corps in the engagements of 
September 19-20, 1863." IMd., ser. I, vol. XXX, pt. I, pp. 615-616. 



these regiments and batteries receive the same pay and bounty as all other 
recruits, are at once clothed and armed, accoutered, comfortably quartered 
and fed, and placed on the same footing with the old soldiers, and are sure, 
when it is merited, to win honorable distinction. They become, almost at once, 
useful and accomplished soldiers, and save all the inconveniences and loss of 
time incurred by waiting for the organization of new regiments, and are sure 
that their officers are brave, skillful, and deserving. Recruiting parties are 
established at Knoxville, Morristown, Greenville, and various other points, and 
all persons desirous to join the Army are requested to enlist at once. 
By command of Brigadier-General R. B. Potter : 

Nicolas Bowen, 
Assistant Adjutant-General 118 

Other commanding officers also took matters into their own hands. 
Maj. Gen. David Hunter, commanding the Department of the South, 
found that many able-bodied men eligible for the draft had entered 
his department "pursuing schemes of private profit and speculation 
based on the necessities of the service." Hunter gave them 20 days to 
leave the department, after which time he proposed to draft them into 
those regiments from their home States serving in South Carolina. In 
case their State was not represented in his command, he proposed as- 
signing them to the regiment which was numerically the weakest. 119 
Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks, the commander of the Department of 
the Gulf, sent general officers north to confer with the governors of 
Indiana and Ohio on ways and means to fill up the reduced regiments 
from those States serving in his command. 120 

Finally the President on 17 October 1863 called for 300,000 volun- 
teers "for the various companies and regiments in the field from their 
respective States." 121 Reinforced by liberal Federal bounties — 
$402 for veterans, $302 for raw recruits — this and a subsequent call 
produced a steady, if inadequate and poorly distributed, stream of 
replacements for the remainder of the war. The older regiments 
consistently showed a larger percentage of increase than those of later 
organizations. This was due to two factors : the older regiments were 
largely "veteranized" in the winter of 1863-64, and thus, as will be 
seen, had a better chance to recruit ; and, in the second place, it was 
the established policy of the office of The Provost Marshal General to 
channel replacements to the regiments enlisted in 1861. 122 The suc- 

118 Ibid., ser. I, vol. LII, pt. I, p. 474. 

119 Hq, Dept of the South, SO 41, 26 May 63. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XIV, p. 460. 

130 Hq, Dept of the Gulf, SO 309, 11 Dec 63. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXVI, pt. I, p. 844 ; Msg, 
Stone to Wetzel, 12 Dec 63. Ibid., p. 848. 

121 Copy of call in WD GO 34(5, 19 Oct 63. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. Ill, p. 892. 

122 Msg, Stone to Gardiner, 20 Oct 63 : "The Provost-Marshal-General directs me to say 
that by the term 'old organizations' in his orders for raising recruits is to be understood 
those troops whose periods of service expire in 1864 or 1865. It is, however, the earnest 
desire of the Government to secure first recruits for the regiments whose time will expire 
in 1864 ; and while recruits for those whose terms expire in 1865 will be received and 
paid under the plan now in force, the Provost-Marshal-General desires that you do all 
you can to encourage the first enlistments for the first-mentioned organizations. Please 
call upon the State authorities, explain this, and request that they cooperate with you 
to this end. . . Ibid., p. 900. 



cess of the system inaugurated 17 October 1863 can be seen in the 
following table : 

Table 6. — Strength of Michigan Regiments: 1 Nov. 1863 and 1 Nov. 1864* 


Present and 
absent 1 No- 
vember 1863 

Present and 
absent 1 No- 
vember 1864 

year 1 

1st Cavalry 

2d Cavalry 

3d Cavalry 

4th Cavalry 

5th Cavalry 

6th Cavalry 

7th Cavalry 

8th Cavalry 

9th Cavalry 

1st Infantry 

2d Infantry 

3d Infantry 

4th Infantry 

5th Infantry 

6th Infantry 

7th Infantry 

8th Infantry 

9th Infantry 

10th Infantry 

11th Infantry 

12th Infantry 

13th Infantry 

14th Infantry 

15th Infantry 

16th Infantry 

17th Infantry 

18th Infantry 

19th Infantry 

20th Infantry 

21st Infantry 

22d Infantry 

23d Infantry 

24th Infantry 

25th Infantry 

26th Infantry 

27th Infantry 

1st Michigan Sharp-Shooters 


1, 082 

1, 147 

1, 106 


( 3 ) 

1, 004 
( 4 ) 


1 Excludes reenlistments of veterans. 

2 Not furnished in source data. 

3 Mustered out 30 Sept. 1864. 

* No returns received. 

* Source: Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Michigan, for the Year 186S (Lansing, 1864), 
pp. 24-11'-: op. cit., 1864. (Lansing, 1865), pp. 67-201, 204-205. 

34622'- J 




Thus the largest numbers of recruits were assigned to the first 16 
infantry regiments, which were mustered into service in 1861. In 
Wisconsin, the largest percentage of the recruits and almost all of the 
drafted men and substitutes went to the 19 regiments recruited under 
the call of 186L 123 

As early as June 1862, it had been proposed, indeed ordered, that 
a camp of instruction be established at Annapolis, Md., with a capacity 
of 50,000 men of all arms under the general supervision of the vener- 
able Maj. Gen. John E. Wool. 124 But demands for troops at the front 
were always so urgent that this scheme was never put into operation, 
and the camp at Annapolis became a depot for paroled prisoners of 
war arriving from Kichmond. 125 In general, in spite of Congressional 
appropriation of large sums for "collecting, drilling, and organizing 
volunteers," 126 most of the Volunteer replacements as well as drafted 
men and substitutes were sent to their regiments with little or no train- 
ing. It was the constant theme of commanding officers that men be- 
came soldiers quicker by coming in contact with the veterans than 
they could in a camp of instruction. Grant looked upon this method 
as more economical and stated that the replacements became "much 
more effective under tried officers and alongside disciplined men." 127 
Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas, commanding the Department of the 
Cumberland, wrote that . . recruits added to old regiments are at 
once under the hand of discipline, soon learn how to take care of them- 
selves, and by mingling with their comrades who have seen service, 
readily learn their duties, and in a short time become almost as efficient 
and reliable as the old troops." 128 

On occasion, some training was provided after the recruit had joined 
his regiment. In April 1864, an expenditure of ammunition was 
authorized in the Army of the Potomac to familiarize the men with 
their arms, and corps commanders were directed to see that this in- 
struction was carried out under the personal supervision of the com- 
pany officers. 129 In September, the commanding officer of II Army 

323 Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Wisconsin . . . for the Tear 
ending December 31, 1865 (Ma4ison, 1866), pp. 22-24. These figures contradict the as- 
sertion often made that Wisconsin had a superior system of maintaining its regiments at 
full strength. This legend had its origin in a statement by General Sherman in which 
Sherman stated that, as he remembered, the Wisconsin regiments, were estimated at the 
equivalent of a brigade [W. T. Sherman, Personal Memoirs (New York, 1890), II, pp. 

«* WD GO 59, 5 Jim 62. Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. II, p. 108. 

125 r^he first pw'g were gent to Annapolis 3 weeks after the camp had been established 
by WD GO 72, 28 Jun 62. Ibid., ser. II, vol. IV, p. 94. 

126 PL 19, "An act making appropriations for the support of the Army for the year 
ending the thirtieth of June [1864] . . Copy in WD GO 40, 11 Feb 63. Ibid., ser. 
Ill, vol. Ill, p. 40. 

127 Msg, Grant to Stanton, 24 Dec 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XLII, pt. Ill, p. 1068. 

128 Msg, Thomas to Vincent, 25 Dec 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XLV, pt. II, pp. 344-345. 

129 Hq, Army of the Potomac Cir [unnumbered], 19 Apr 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXXIII, 
pp. 907-908. 



Corps, Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock, complained that so many men 
were detailed for special duty from his corps that there was no oppor- 
tunity for drilling the large number of recruits in his 1st Division, a 
matter which Hancock considered of vital importance. 130 And Maj. 
Gen. Gouverneur K. TVarren, the commanding officer of V Army 
Corps, stated that of 4,707 men in the 1st Division, 1,247 were ignorant 
of the manual and 2,803 had never fired a musket ; the 2d Division, 
4,704 strong, contained 104 men who did not know the manual and 
812 who had not fired a musket ; in the 3d Division, 298 men were 
ignorant of the manual and the same number had never fired a musket. 
Some of the troops, of course, were in new regiments, but a large num- 
ber were recruits in old organizations. 131 

With the inauguration of the draft in July 1863, camps were estab- 
lished in each State for the accommodation of the draftees and their 
substitutes. 132 When the time came to forward them to their regi- 
ments, details from the regiments were made and sent north to collect 
the men. 133 It soon developed, however, that this system was im- 
practicable. The character of many of the draftees and a large pro- 
portion of the substitutes was such that the detail of 3' officers and 6 
enlisted men from each regiment proved to be an inadequate guard. 
It became necessary to maintain a strong guard over these men from 
the time they were drafted until they reached their regiments. 134 
Similar measures had also to be resorted to in the case of Volunteer 
recruits. The experience of Frank Wilkeson, who volunteered in the 
11th New York Battery, is typical of the treatment accorded recruits 
from 1863 to the close of the war. Immediately upon enlisting at 
Albany, he was placed in the penitentiary compound with almost a 
thousand ruffians, most of whom he described as bounty- jumpers, sur- 
rounded by a heavy line of guards. After being confined for a 
month, about 600 of the men were selected to be sent forward. Many 
tried to hide — in the mattresses, under bunks, in the latrines, and 
even in the cess pits. Marched under heavy guard to the Hudson 
River, several tried to escape and were shot, and even after being 
loaded onto a river steamer a few tried to make their getaway by 
jumping into the icy Hudson. 135 

The opinion of the man in the ranks was abundantly shared by 
division, corps, and army commanders. The commanding officer of 
the 4th Division, V Army Corps, was ''firmly convinced that not two- 

150 Msg, Hancock to Williams, 24 Sep 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XLII, pt. 994. 
141 Rpt, Maj Gen G. K. Warren, 2 Not 64 on "Operations of V Army Corps . . . October 
27-28. 1864." Ibid., pt. I, p. 434. 

132 WD Cir [unnumbered]., 3 Jul 63. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. Ill, pp. 465-^66. 

133 jMd. 

is4 Frv's Report," pt. I, p. 146. 

135 Fran£ WHkeson, Recollections of a Private Soldier in the Army of the Tennessee 
(New York, 1887), pp. 1-11, quoted in Commager, op. ext., I, pp. 88-91. 



thirds of the conscripts and substitutes ever reach the army/ 5 and 
that of those who did not one-half were ever available as soldiers. 136 
Brevet Maj. Gen. Godfrey Weitzel, commanding the XVII Army 
Corps, promised a 20-day furlough to any enlisted man who killed 
those "miserable wretches, bounty-jumpers," in the act of deserting. 137 
Of the recruits, as opposed to drafted men, Grant estimated that 4 
of every 5 deserted before they reached the Army. 138 Shortly there- 
after Halleck informed him that "orders were given several days 
ago to send all infantry regiments and recruits in the Northern States 
from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore to City Point 
by water on account of the numerous desertions." 139 

Eegimental recruiting details continued active during the winter 
of 1863-64, 140 but a new, and generally more effective, system of 
forwarding the recruits to their regiments was put into operation. 
Instead of each regiment being held responsible for the delivery of 
the replacements, camps of distribution were established for each 
theater of operations. All recruits, drafted men, and substitutes to 
these camps were sent from the State rendezvous points under heavy 
guard, usually furnished by the Veteran Eeserve Corps. From these 
camps the men were sent, again under guard but furnished this time by 
the army concerned, to the regiments to which they were assigned. 
Camp Distribution in Alexandria, Va., was the distributing point for 
replacements assigned to the Army of the Potomac. 141 

Later in the year, when the Army of the Potomac began operations 
against Petersburg and large-scale campaigning was going on in 
the Shenandoah Valley, intermediate depots were established at City 
Point, Va., and Harper's Ferry, W. Va. 142 Replacements arriving 
at City Point were temporarily under the control of the Provost 
Marshal General of the armies operating against Richmond. All 
recruits who had volunteered for a particular regiment and all drafted 
men and substitutes who had been assigned before reaching City 
Point were immediately sent to their organizations. All unassigned 
replacements were to be assigned to such regiments as the commanding 
officers of the Armies of the Potomac and the J ames might designate. 143 

138 Msg, Cutler to Lincoln, 22 Jul 64. Official Records, ser. I, vol. XL, pt. Ill, pp. 394-395. 

137 Hq, XVIII Army Corps, GO 136, 9 Nov 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XLII, pt. Ill, p. 580. 

138 Msg, Grant to Stanton, 10 Sep 64. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. IV, p. 706. 

139 Msg, Halleck to Grant, 17 Sep 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XLIII, pt. II, p. 96. 

140 Msg, McPherson to Grant, 22 Nov 63. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXI, pt. Ill, pp. 226-227 ; 
Msg, Halleck to Grant, 14 Feb 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXXII, pt. II, p. 389 ; Msg, Halleck to 
Dix (Couch, Brooks, and Heintzelman) , 21 Mar 64. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. IV, p. 192. 

141 WD SO 20, 14 Jan 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXXIII, pp. 375-376. 

143 Msg, Grant to Halleck, 22 Sep 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XLII, pt. II, p. 963 ; Msg, Brig 
Gen John D. Stevenson to Stanton, 5 Oct 64. Ibid., vol. XLVIII, pt. II, p. 293. 

143 Hq, Armies of the US, SO 8, 10 Jan 64. Records of the Adjutant General. National 



Troops from the Middle West destined for the Department of the 
Gulf or for Sherman's armies were assembled at Cairo, 111., and then 
shipped by water either down the Mississippi or up the Tennessee. 
Replacements for the Department of the Gulf went down the Missis- 
sippi to New Orleans where a camp of distribution had been set up, 
and were sent to their regiments from that place. Recruits for the 
armies in the Military Division of the Mississippi were sent to a camp 
of instruction established at Nashville ; roughly one-half of them were 
assigned to the Army of the Cumberland and one-fourth each to the 
Armies of the Ohio and the Tennessee. Toward the end of the war, 
when Sherman emerged at Goldsborough, K C, after the successful 
campaigns northward from Savannah, an intermediate depot was 
established at Wilmington, N. C, from which replacements were sent 
to Sherman's corps. 144 

Although the machinery for forwarding recruits to the front had 
been set up by the beginning of 1864, it required considerable prodding 
from the commanders in the field before it began to function efficiently. 
Throughout the winter of 1863-64, recruiting had been left pretty 
much to the initiative of the regimental commanders. But it was not 
until the late summer and early fall of 1864 that replacements in really 
significant numbers began to reach the front. From August and Sep- 
tember 1864 until the cessation of hostilities in April 1865, there is a 
continuous record on all operational levels from army to regiment of 
the steady arrival and distribution of new men. These replacements 
were never in sufficient quantity to raise the effective strength of the old 
regiments to more than a large fraction of authorized strength, but in 
most cases the old regiments were at least enabled to remain 

The case of the 2d Minnesota is illustrative of this point. At the 
beginning of the Atlanta campaign, 7 May 1864, this regiment num- 
bered 451 officers and enlisted men present. Between that date and 9 
September, 176 recruits were received from the depot, 65 returned from 
the hospital or from detached service, and 2 men returned from deser- 
tion. For the same period the regiment incurred losses amounting to 
248 from all causes. Thus at the conclusion of the campaign, the 2d 
Minnesota had a present strength of 446 officers and men, substantially 
the same number as when the campaign began. 145 

144 Msg, Sherman to Halleck, 25 Apr 64. Official Records, ser. I, vol. XXXIII, pt. Ill, 
pp 488-489 ; List showing the disposition of troops in the Dept of the Gulf, 9 Jun 64. 
Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXXIV, pt IV, pp. 277-278 ; Hq, Mil Div of the Miss., GO 10, 26 Apr 64. 
Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXXII, pt. Ill, p. 505 ; Sherman to Gen J. D. Wehster, 10 Oct 24. Ibid., 
ser. *I, vol. XXXIX, pt. Ill, p. 175 ; Msg, Capt L. M. Dayton to CO, Hq, Mil Div of the 
Miss., 2 Apr 65. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XLVII, pt. Ill, p. 87. 

i«Rpts, Col Judson W. Bishop, 9 Sep 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXXVIII, pt. I, pp. 803- 



Other regiments, although receiving considerable numbers of re- 
cruits, had dwindled to such an extent that the replacements out- 
numbered the old men. On 7 November 1864, the 76th Pennsylvania 
numbered 140 enlisted men for duty before the arrival of 155 
recruits. 146 

There was no plan for insuring that replacements would be assigned 
to the regiments which were lowest in strength. Most of the recruits, 
and many of the drafted men and substitutes, were allowed to choose 
the regiment in which they preferred to serve. The result was that 
company and regimental commanders sometimes attempted to entice 
recruits, already assigned, away from the intermediate depots. Gen- 
eral Butler reported that 300 recruits destined for the 142d New York 
had been tampered with at the City Point Depot. 147 At Harper's 
Ferry, the intermediate depot for the Army of the Shenandoah, the 
commanding officer reported that "certain officers of light batteries at 
this post have induced a portion of the German recruits of the State 
of Massachusetts to desert from camp for the purpose of enlisting in 
their batteries." 148 The alterations in strength of the 25th Massa- 
chusetts may be taken as illustrative of this system. 

Officers men 

Original number in regiment 38 1, 000 

Gains 28 277 

By civil appointment 5 

Promotions in regiment . 23 

Recruits from depot 277 

Losses 56 917 

Killed in action 4 60 

Died of woimds 3 60 

Died of disease 70 

Missing in action and prisoners of war 2 122 

Resigned 27 

Disability discharge 4 268 

Discharge for promotion in regiment 23 

Discharged for promotion in other regiments , 38 

Transferred from regiment , 1 15 

Mustered out at expiration of term 15 248 

Desertions 13 

Remaining in regiment, 7 Oct. 1864 10 149 360 

These statistics point out two of the great weaknesses of the Volun- 
teer service during the Civil War. The fact that 248 enlisted and 15 
officer veterans of 3 years' service were mustered out at the conclusion 
of their term of enlistment illustrates the folly of permitting any 

148 Msg, Col G. Pennypacker to Capt T. E. Lord, 7 Nov 64. Ibid., ser. I, toI. XLII, pt. 
Ill, p. 554. 

147 Msg, Butler to Grant, 12 Oct 64. Ibid., pt III, p. 184. 

148 Msg, Brig Gen John D. Stevenson to Halleck, 7 Oct 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XLIII, 
pt. II, p. 314. 

149 Rpt, Col Josiah Pickett, 16 Dec 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XLII, pt I, pp. 809-810. 



enlistments for a period less than the duration of the war. To offset 
enlisted losses aggregating 917, only 277 replacements were furnished 
the regiment. This is a serious indictment of the replacement system. 
It would have been of very little account whether it had been managed 
by the Federal Government or by the State if it had been successful in 
maintaining the regiments at something like their authorized strength. 
But neither Federal nor State efforts at recruiting Volunteers as re- 
placements were conspicuously successful, and the draft laws of 1863 
and 1864 were so drawn as to be ineffective for their avowed purpose of 
raising men. A functioning replacement system finally got into opera- 
tion by the time the war was nearly over, but it never supplied enough 
men to overcome the manpower waste of the earlier years. Moreover, 
replacements were poorly distributed in a great many cases. The 3d 
Wisconsin received 1,177 recruits and drafted men and was mustered 
out at very near authorized strength — 810 — whereas the 24th Wis- 
consin received 74 replacements and numbered but 406 at muster- 
out. 150 Similarly, the 10th Illinois was furnished 915 recruits and 
was mustered out with 768 men, less than 100 below the minimum 
authorization; but the 74th Illinois received but 85 replacements and 
its strength at muster-out was 354. 151 Nevertheless, the Volunteer 
armies with all their shortcomings in organization and administration 
furnished by far the greatest element in the forces called into being 
during the war, and to their splendid fighting qualities was due the 
successful termination of the war. 

Federal Experiments in Recruiting 

In addition to its responsibilities for the recruiting of the Regu- 
lar Army, which was conducted with something less than complete 
success, the War Department assumed the sole responsibility for re- 
cruiting three other categories of troops. Federal efforts in connection 
with the recruiting of the Veteran Volunteers, the Veteran's Eeserve 
Corps, and the experiment with Negro troops met with a degree of 
success considerably higher than that attending the recruiting of the 
Regular Army. Moreover, these activities of the Government go far 
to disprove the old contention that the Administration was entirely 
subservient to pressure from the State capitals and tend to confirm the 
more reasonable, view that in 1861 the incompetence of Secretary 
Cameron led to State control of Volunteer recruiting. It must be 
remembered that the relatively successful replacement system of 1864- 
65 was the result of direct War Department control. 

Wisconsin AG Report, 1865, op. cit., pp. 22-23, 108, 373. 
iBi Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois, 1861-1862 (Spring- 
field, 1863), pp. 54-56 ; Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois, 1861-1865 
(Rev. ed., Springfield, 1886), I, pp. 145-147, 152-151. 



The Veteran Volunteers 

As early as the fall of 1862, certain of the governors proposed that 
regiments which had been badly depleted during the summer cam- 
paigns be returned to their home States for rest and recruitment. 
Governor Curtin of Pennsylvania was especially insistent that the 
Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, consisting of 13 regiments of infantry 
and 1 regiment each of cavalry and artillery, be returned to the State 
for this purpose. This request was refused by General in Chief Hal- 
leck, who disapproved withdrawing regiments in the field ; he thought 
that the replacements should be sent to the regiments rather than the 
other way around. 152 This was later used to support the Governor's 
contention that the failure to recruit the old regiments up to strength 
was the fault of the Federal Government. 153 But, as Halleck stated, 
applications of this nature were so numerous that if granted they 
" would so reduce the armies in the field as not only to prevent any 
further operations for 3 or 4 months, but to endanger important 
positions held by us." 154 

The realization in the spring of 1863 that the war would very likely 
continue at least through the campaigning season of the next year 
caused the War Department to take stock of the situation. It was 
found that of D56 Volunteer regiments, 7 independent battalions, 61 
independent companies, and 158 batteries of artillery then in service, 
the terms of 455 regiments, 3 battalions, 38 companies, and 81 bat- 
teries would expire before 31 December 1864. In other words, almost 
half the existing Army was due to be mustered out during the course 
of 1864. 155 

The first tentative step in the direction of inducing these thousands 
of veterans to remain with the Colors was taken in General Orders 
No. 85 of 2 April 1863, 156 which, although directed primarily at the 30 
New York 2-year regiments due to be mustered out during the sum- 
mer, became a basis for future action in connection with the 3-year 
Volunteers. This order simply provided that any soldier then in 
service would be granted a 30-day furlough upon reenlistment. A 
more comprehensive plan for reenlistment was published in General 
Orders No. Ill of 1 May, which, in addition to placing all Volunteer 
recruiting under the direction of The Provost Marshal General, stipu- 
lated the conditions under which regiments might be reenlisted en 
masse for a 3-year term. The regimental officers were given the chief 

152 Curtin pointed out that this corps which had left the State in July 61 with 15,760 men 
did not muster 4,000 after Antietam. Ltr, Curtin to Lincoln w/ind by Halleck, 30 Sep 62. 
Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. II, pp. 624-625. 

153 Msg, Russell to Williams, 18 Nov 62. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXI, pp. 771-772. 

154 1st Ind by Halleck on ltr, Vincent to Burnside, 16 Jan 63. Ibid., p. 974. 

155 "Fry's Report," pt. I, p. 57. 

156 WD GO 85, 2 Apr 63. Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. Ill, p. 112. 



responsibility in this plan, since it provided that officers who suc- 
ceeded in reenlisting their regiments within 30-days of the date of dis- 
charge should retain their commissions. 157 

The Provost Marshal General in June and July authorized the gov- 
ernors to raise a total of 51 regiments for 3 years with the suggestion 
that this quota might be filled either by organizing new regiments or 
by reorganizing old ones. 158 General Orders No. 191 of 25 June 1863 
made the inducements more attractive by adding a federal bounty and 
premium amounting to $402 to veterans who would reenlist, and at 
the same time angled for the support of the governors by crediting 
these veteran reenlistments on the quotas of the respective States. 159 
The basis for veteran enlistment was further broadened in July when 
the War Department defined a "veteran" as an able-bodied man be- 
tween 18 and 45 who had been honorably discharged from the service 
of the United States after not less than 9 months' active duty. 160 In 
September, a deadline for veteran reenlistments was set at 1 December 
1863. 161 The final step was taken in General Orders No. 376 of 21 
November. In addition to granting furloughs to individual reen- 
listees, paragraph V of this order provided that whenever three- 
fourths of a regiment or company should reenlist, they should be f ur- 
loughed home in a body for at least 30 days to reorganize and recruit. 
This order applied to all organizations which had less than a year of 
their original term yet to serve. Individuals who did not choose to 
"veteranize" were to be assigned to other units during the absence of 
the unit. 162 On 1 December, the deadline was advanced to 5 J anuary 
1864, and by subsequent congressional and departmental action it was 
extended to 1 March and finally to 31 March. 163 

Serious action under these orders hardly commenced before the 
middle of December. Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, commanding the 
Army of the Potomac, reported on 12 December 1863 that his subordi- 
nate commanders estimated that more than half of the 77 regiments in 
that army whose terms expired before 1 September 1864 would remain 
for another 3 years if granted their 30-day furlough. This would 
amount to some 15,000 men, and Meade was not sure he could afford to 
let them go all at once. 164 The problem proved troublesome to other 
commanders, but each was permitted to work it out in his own way. 

™ WD GO 111, 1 May 63. Ibid., pp. 179-180. 

17,8 Msg. Fry to governors of N. Y., Pa. t Maine, Mass., Conn., N. J. } Vt., N. H., R. I., 
and Wise, 29 Jun-10 Aug 63. Ibid., pp. 424-425. 

159 WD GO 191, 25 .Tun 63. Ibid., pp. 414-416. 

160 WD GO 216, 14 Jul 63. Ibid., pp. 486-487. 
i«i WD GO 324, 28 Sep 63. Ibid., p. 844. 

is- WD GO 376, 21 Nov 63. Ibid., p. 1084. 

163 WD GO 387, 1 Dec 63. Ibid., p. 1106. By joint resolution of Congress, approved 

13 Jan 64, the high Federal bounties were continued until 1 Mar. See WD GO 20, 

14 Jan. 64. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. IV, p. 30 and WD Cir 25, 18 Mar 64. Ibid., pp. 188-190. 
"*Msg. Meade to Halleck, 12 Dec 63. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXIX, pt. II, pp. 556-558. 



In the Department of the Ohio, 1 regiment from each brigade was 
permitted to be absent, 165 while, in the Department of the Gulf, only 2 
regiments per army corps were allowed to be absent at any time. 166 

The War Department greatly facilitated the reenlistment of entire 
regiments and batteries by a liberal definition of what three-fourths of 
an organization should mean. This was understood to mean three- 
fourths of the men actually present within the limits of that army in 
which the organization was serving. Such a ruling was necessary, for 
in the vast majority of cases the number actually present did not ex- 
ceed one-third to one-half those borne on the regimental rolls. 167 

By the end of the year, reports from every theater indicated that 
a very considerable percentage of the veterans would reenlist. The 
repori, of Brig. Gen. G. M. Dodge, commanding the left wing of the 
XVI Army Corps, is typical of many such : 

. . . All my old regiments have reenlisted and are going home. I have not 
got more than three regiments but what will reenlist three-fourths or more of 
their veterans. It rtms through the command like wildfire. The Ohio bri- 
gade are all in and will go in a body. The Second Iowa have already gone. 


My force for 60 days will be very small. 168 

Up to 2 January, more than 16,000 veterans in the Army of the Po- 
tomac had "veteranized," a figure in excess of the original estimates. 169 
Congressional action t in extending the period during which the 
bounty of $402 would be paid further stimulated reenlistments at 
a. time when it was feared that few more veterans would be forth- 
coming without such an inducement. Through the 26th of January, 
some 20,000 veterans in the Army of the Cumberland had reenlisted, 
with some divisional reports still incomplete. 170 

Intense activity prevailed throughout the first quarter of 1864, and 
there was some danger that the slow return of the veteran regiments 
from furlough would interfere or disrupt the carefully laid plans 
for the spring campaigns. But although some regiments were taking 
belated furloughs as late as August, there is no indication that the 
operations of the summer were at all inconvenienced by their ab- 
sence. 171 A final computation of the War Department showed that 
while 313 regiments, 16 independent companies, and 55 batteries, con- 
taining in all 51,174 men, had been mustered out of the service be- 

165 Hq, Dept of the Ohio, SO 4, 4 Jan 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXXII, pt. II, p. 26. 
1M Msg, Brig Gen Stone to Maj Gen W. B. Franklin, 23 Dec 63. Ibid., ser. I vol. XXVI, 
pt. I, p. 873. 

167 WD Girc [unnumbered! , 21 Dec 63. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. Ill, p. 1179. 

168 Msg, Dodge to Hurlbut, 25 Dec 63. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXI, pt. Ill, p. 491. 

169 Msg, Meade to Halleck, 5 Jan 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXXIII, p. 347. 

170 Rpt, Thomas to Vincent, 28 Jan 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXXII, pt. II, pp. 247-248. 

171 The 61st and 62d Illinois left the Dept of Arkansas for home in August. See msg, 
Steele to Canby, 14 Aug. 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XLI, pt. II, pp. 702-703. Veteran furloughs 
for the 13th and 15th Maine and 90th N. Y. were not authorized until 4 Aug. See msg, 
Hunter to Halleck, 3 Aug 64, w/ind by Halleck, 4 Aug. 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXXVII, pt. 
II, p. 584. 



tween 1 November 1863 and 31 October 1864, a total of 136,300 vet- 
eran Volunteers had been furloughed and returned to the field in 
the same period. 172 

The return of the veteran regiments to their homes on furlough 
also was instrumental in stimulating recruiting. Many regiments 
were relatively successful in filling their ranks during the month 
which they spent in the North. For example, the 10th New York 
Cavalry recruited 250 men during its absence from the Army of 
the Potomac. 173 Through 31 March, 33 regiments of infantry, 5 of 
cavalry, and 10 batteries of artillery returning from veteran fur- 
lough to the Army of the Cumberland brought with them a total 
of 5,429 recruits. If the 10 batteries of artillery are considered as a 
regiment, this would be an average of 139 recruits per regiment, a 
not inconsiderable addition to the strength of the army. 17 ' 4 

A later experiment to tap the reserve of trained manpower which 
had been lost to the service was not attended by the success incident 
to the reenlistment of the veteran regiments. In October 1864, Sec- 
retary Stanton broached a plan to Grant for the recruitment of a 
corps to consist entirely of veterans who should have at least 2 years' 
prior service. These veterans were to be induced into volunteer- 
ing by a $500 bounty and permission to keep their arms when mus- 
tered out. Grant gave his unqualified approval to Stanton's plan 
and felt that it would prove successful in its aims. 175 The plan was 
promulgated as General Orders No. 287 of 28 November 1864. The 
veteran corps was designated I Army Corps, and Maj. Gen. Winfield 
Scott Hancock, one of the most distinguished corps commanders 
in the Army of the Potomac, was assigned to the command. 176 Re- 
cruiting for this corps was entirely in the hands of the War Depart- 
ment. Although the States might receive credit for recruits raised 
for it, the recruiting center was established in Washington, and 
anyone who wished to volunteer for I Army Corps was obliged to go 
to the capital city for that purpose, with transportation furnished 
at government expense. If accepted, the recruit was sent to Camp 
Cliffburne in the vicinity of Washington where the corps was in the 
process of organization. 177 In spite of considerable publicity and 
the outstanding reputation of its commanding officer, recruiting for 
I Army Corps lagged, and at the cessation of hostilities only frre 
regiments had been recruited for it. 178 

"2 "Exhibit of recruits. . . op. cit. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. IV, p. 813. 

"3 "itinerary of the Army of the Potomac," 1-31 Mar 64. Official Records, ser. I, vol. 
XXXIII, PP. 778-786. 

™ Rpts, Maj Gen Geo. H. Thomas, 5 Apr 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXXII, pt. I, p. 16. 

175 Msg, Stanton to Grant, 25 Oct 64 ; Msg, Grant to Stanton, 25 Oct 64. Ibid., ser. I, 
vol. XLII, pt. Ill, p. 337. 

«« WD GO 287, 28 Nov 64. Ibid., p. 728. 

177 Hq, I Army Corps, Cir 2, 3 Dec 64. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. IV, pp. 970-971. 

tn Msg, Halleck to Grant, 12 Apr 65. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XLVIII, pt. II, p. 76. 



The Federal Government proved relatively successful in its attempt 
to retain a large portion of the veterans who were due to be mustered 
out in 1864. About 72 percent of these veterans reenlisted for another 
3-year term. On the other hand, because of the restrictions imposed 
by the War Department and the fact that the war was obviously 
nearing its close, the efforts to induce trained men to return to the 
colors was not marked by a conspicuous degree of success. 

The Veteran Reserve Corps 

The extremely high rate of discharge for disability that charac- 
terized the first 2 years of the war eventually led the War Department 
to adopt measures that would retain in service men who, although not 
fit for active service in the field, would be able to perform garrison 
and other light duty and so release for active operations an equivalent 
number of able-bodied soldiers. With this object, General Orders 
No. 105 of 28 April 1863 was issued establishing an Invalid Corps. 179 
Since a certain stigma was attached to the term "Invalid," the corps 
was redesignated the Veteran Reserve Corps in March 1864, 180 The 
corps was to be recruited by the officers of the Provost Marshal 
General's Bureau, and it was provided with a distinctive uniform. 181 
All officers and men who had been discharged from the service for 
disability were invited to enlist, and provision was made for those 
in convalescent hospitals and camps to be transferred to the Invalid 
Corps. 182 Organization was based on that of an infantry company 
at minimum strength, and the personnel was divided into two cate- 
gories based upon degree of physical fitness. Those capable of light- 
armed duty were formed into a 1st Battalion, those capable of less 
activity into a 2d Battalion. A third group set up initially was soon 
merged with the second group. 183 

Recruiting for the Invalid Corps proceeded slowly at first. Before 
the end of the summer, however, references in the letters of The 
Provost Marshal General, especially in connection with the draft 
disturbances, became numerous. In many instances, the only troops 
the end of the summer, however, references in the letters of The 
Invalid Corps. 184 In October, the grades of colonel and lieutenant 
colonel were authorized in the corps, 185 and organization into 16 regi- 

179 WD GO 105, 28 Apr 63. Ibid,, ser. Ill, vol. Ill, p. 170-172. 

180 WD G0 ls Mar 64 IUd > ser volt IVf p 188 

WD Cir 13, 25 May 63. Ibid,, ser. Ill, vol. Ill, pp. 221-222 ; WD GO 158, 29 May 63, 

Ibid., p. 239. 

182 WD Cir 8, 22 May 63. Ibid., p. 217 ; WD GO 173, 11 Jun 63. Ibid., pp. 336-338. 

183 WD Cir 14, 26 May 63. Ibid., pp. 225-227. 

184 Msg, Fry to Bomford, 14 Jul 63. Ibid., p. 491 ; Msg, Diven to Fry, 15 Jul 63. Ibid., 
p. 496-497 ; msg, Townsend to Fry, 16 Jul 63. Ibid., p. 516 ; msg, Whipple to Fry, 23 
Jul 63. Ibid., p. 562. 

185 WD GO 348, 26 Oct 63. Ibid., p. 924. 



ments was authorized. On 31 October, the Corps numbered 491 officers 
and 17,764 enlisted men. 186 

The Veteran Reserve Corps, as it became early in 1864, proved to 
be a sound investment. In addition to small garrisons in areas 
where the draft was unpopular, regiments, companies, and detach- 
ments were employed as guards at important depots, at prisoner-of- 
war camps, and even as garrisons for important rear area installa- 
tions. 187 The strength of the Corps steadily increased until the end 
of the war. On 1 October 1864, it consisted of 764 officers and 29,502 
enlisted men organized into 24 regiments and 155 unassigned com- 
panies. lss This strength had risen to 762 officers and 29,852 enlisted 
men on 31 May 1865, and more than 60,000 men had passed through 
the Corps' ranks during the short period of its existence. 189 This was 
almost as great as the number of men recruited by the Regular Army 
during the entire war. 

From every aspect, the Veteran Eeserve Corps represented one of 
the most successful Federal recruiting efforts. Provost Marshal Gen- 
eral Fry stated: "During its entire existence, the corps was in the 
performance of duties which would otherwise have been necessarily 
performed by as great a number of able-bodied troops detached from 
the armies in the field ... v 190 As an economic measure, it was no 
less beneficial. These partially disabled soldiers, performing full- 
time light duty, received no Federal bounty whatever. 

Negro Troops 

The recruiting and organization of Negro regiments as a national 
policy dated only from the publication of the Emancipation Proclama- 
tion on 1 January 1863, in which the President declared that "such 
persons [former slaves] of suitable condition, will be received into the 
armed forces of the United States." 191 However, earlier steps had 
been taken on the initiative of department commanders, notably on 
the North Carolina coast and in the Department of the Gulf, where as 
early as September 1862 General Butler had organized a regiment of 
free Negroes "the darkest of whom will be about the complexion of the 
late Mr. [Daniel] Webster." 192 In May 1863, a bureau was estab- 

188 Rpt, Rush to Fry, 6 Nov 63. IMd., pp. 999-1002. 

187 rji w0 companies of the VRC were on duty in the defenses of Xew Orleans, and the 10th 
Regt VRC was assigned to the 3d Sep Brig, VIII Army Corps. Msg, Maj. Gen. J. J. Reyn- 
olds to Brig. Gen. Wm. Dwight, 22 Apr 64. IMd., ser. I, vol. XXXIV, pt. Ill, p. 254 ; Field 
Rpt of the 3d Sep Brig, VIII Army Corps for 13 Jul 64. IMd., vol XXXVII, pt. II, p. 298. 

188 Msg, Fry to Stanton, 15 Nov 64. IWd., ser. Ill, vol. IV, p. 933. 
™> 'Try's Report," I, pp. 92-93. 

190 ma. 

wl Msg, Capt J. W. DeForest to Fry, 30 Nov 65. Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. V, pp. 

i^The Emancipation Proclamation was published for the information of those con- 
cerned in Hq, Dept of the Gulf, GO 12, 29 Jan 62. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XV, p. 668. 



lished in the Adjutant General's Office for the administration of all 
matters pertaining to the organization of Negro troops, and no such 
organizations might be raised without the express sanction of the War 
Department. All applications for commissions in regiments raised 
or to be raised had likewise to receive the approval of the Depart- 
ment. ly3 

Throughout the remainder of the Avar, the problem of the Negro in 
uniform, became something of a political football. Many of the Regu- 
lar officers were opposed to the idea, much preferring to use the lib- 
erated slaves as labor in the construction of fortifications, as teamsters, 
and as casual labor in the quartermaster's department. 194 Under the 
aegis of the War Department, the governors of several Northern 
States were authorized to raise regiments of Negro troops, but recruit- 
ing was hampered by the fact that until July 1864 colored soldiers were 
regarded as so much inferior to white troops that they were not allowed 
equal pay and bounty. A decision of. the Attorney General at that 
time enabled the Secretary of War to equalize matters in this respect. 195 

But the vast majority of the Negro regiments were raised in the 
liberated areas of the Mississippi Valley. The recruiting of the Negro 
population, begun by General Butler at New Orleans, was continued 
by his successor, Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks, who, like Butler, was 
first a politician and then a soldier. Brig. Gen. Lorenzo Thomas, The 
Adjutant General, was detailed in the summer of 1863 to organize 
the Negroes in the Mississippi Valley, 196 and until the end of hostilities, 
he remained actively at work. It is hard to avoid the suspicion that 
much of the enthusiasm shown in the North for the work so con- 
scientiously performed by General Thomas stemmed from the hope 
that his success would obviate the necessity for all-out conscription in 
the loyal States, rather than from the often expressed concern for the 
welfare of the former slave. When Congress authorized the governors 
to send recruiting agents into the States declared to be in rebellion, 
with all recruits so obtained to be credited against their draft quotas, 
there was a mad scramble to be first in the field. The results, how- 

193 WD GO 143, 22 May 63. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. Ill, pp. 215-216. 

194 This attitude is pretty well summed up by Brig Gen Lorenzo Thomas, TAG, himself 
a determined partisan of the Negro : 

... I suggested that the negroes who came within his lines [Maj Gen Canby's] 
should be assigned to regiments already organized to bring them up to the maximum 
standard. The general, however, desires them for laborers in the several departments, 
and he will use them in this manner. This is the view taken by most commanders, but 
it is not my own. I think they should be organized as troops and details made from 
them in proper proportion to do the necessary work of our armies. . . . 
See Msg, Thomas to Stanton, 8 Apr 65. IUd^ ser. I, vol. XLIX, pt. II, p. 276. 
185 Att Gen Edwin Bates to the Pres. 14 Jul 64. IMd., ser. Ill, vol. IV, pp. 490-493. 
196 Msg, Lincoln to Grant, 9 Aug. 63. IMd. s ser. I, vol. XXIV, pt. Ill, p. 584. The 
President's intentions are expressed thus : "... I believe it is a resource which, if 
vigorously applied now, will soon close this contest. It works doubly — weakening the 
enemy and strengthening us. We were not fully ripe for it until the river was opened. 
Now I think at least 100,000 can and ought to be organized along its shores, relieving 
all the white troops to serve elsewhere. . . 



ever, were insignificant. A total of 1,045 State agents recruited 2,831 
men between 1 November 1863 and the same date in 1864. 197 

By Orders No. 16, issued by General Thomas at New Orleans on 4 
April 1864, 198 and Orders No. 17, issued at Natchez, Miss., on the 
26th, 199 a permanent designation as U. S. Colored Troops was estab- 
lished for all units composed of Negroes. By the end of the war, 
79,638 Negroes had enlisted to the credit of the loyal States, and 99,337 
had been recruited under the direct authority of the Federal Govern- 
ment. 200 They were organized in 120 regiments of infantry, 12 regi- 
ments of heavy artillery, 10 batteries of light artillery, and 7 regiments 
of cavalry. 201 Four regiments of colored infantry and two of cavalry, 
recruited from these Negro volunteers, were incorporated into the 
Regular Army in 1866. 20 * 

The Negro regiments in the Mississippi Valley performed, to a great 
extent, the functions assigned to the Veteran Reserve Corps in the 
Northern States. By October 1864, 11 regiments were working on the 
fortifications of Nashville and Chattanooga atid guarding the im- 
portant railroad communications from Nashville all the way to Dalton, 
Ga. 203 Am inspection of the composition of the forces serving largely 
in occupation capacities shows very clearly the important contributions 
made by the Negro regiments. In late 1864 and the early months of 
1865, it was necessary to concentrate as many as possible of the veteran 
white regiments for the campaigns which it was hoped would finally 
crush the rebellion. The fact that the garrisons of the river towns 
were, during these final months, largely composed of Negro troops 
enabled the white troops to finish the war. Of 47 regiments serving on 
the Mississippi in 1865, more than half, or 27, were Negro, and the pro- 
portion in the ranks was enhanced further in that, while the 20 white 
regiments were for the most part considerably below strength, the 
Negro regiments were at or near authorized strength in the majority 
of cases. 204 

The organization of Negro military units was a logical outcome of 
the Emancipation Proclamation, and of the growing strength of 
opinion in the North that the Negro should be given an opportunity 
to prove his right to freedom. Although the freedman had to face 
obstacles of prejudice on the one hand and exploitation on the other, 

197 This method of recruiting was authorized by Sec. 3, PL 196, approved 4 Jul 64. Pub- 
lished for the information of the Army in WD GO 224, 6 Jul 64. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. IV, 
pp. 472^174. 

188 Copy of order in Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. IV, pp. 214-215. 
m» Ibid., p. 245. 

200 "Abstract from official records showing the forces called for ..." Ibid., ser. III. 
vol. IV, p. 1270. 

201 Msg, C. W. Foster to E. D. Townsend, 20 Oct 65. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. V, pp. 137-140. 

202 Msg, Stanton to Lincoln, 14 Nov 66. Ibid., p. 10S3. 

203 Ssg, Col R. D. Mussey to Foster 10 Oct 64. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. IV, pp. 762-774. 

204 "List of regiments serving on the Mississippi River, 1865." Ibid,, ser. I, vol. XLVIII, 
pt. I, pp. 1108-1110. 



he yet managed to make a significant contribution to the war effort. 
The enlistment of almost 180,000 Negroes freed for actual combat 
duty the depleted Volunteer regiments from the loyal States, which 
were unwilling to accept the conscription that would have made the 
utilization of the Negro in a military capacity unnecessary. 

The Militia 

During the Rebellion, a total of 304,410 soldiers were mustered into 
the service for terms of less than 12 months, including the 9 months' 
Militia already discussed. 205 Apart from the 91,816 3 months' men 
who answered the President's call in April 1861 for troops to restore 
the authority of the United States, these more than 200,000 short- 
term men must be considered in the nature of replacements. In most 
instances, they were summoned to the Colors at some time of great 
crisis, when the Volunteer forces proved inadequate to the double task 
of making headway against the enemy and garrisoning their own line 
of communications and rear area installations. It is scarcely neces- 
sary to state that the role of the Militia was a comparatively insignifi- 
cant one, and that its chief contribution was taking over certain 
routine duties from the regularly constituted forces during the season 
of active operations. 

The decision of the Government to rely on Volunteer units for 
the prosecution of the war permanently disrupted the old Militia or- 
ganization in those few States which still maintained it. As a result, 
the repeated calls of the President for Militia units to tide over a dan- 
gerous period were answered most inadequately. Thus, when 100,000 
Militia were summoned on 15 June 1863 for 6 months' servipe to meet 
the threat which culminated at Gettysburg, a total of 16,361 actually 
responded. 206 Some States, in spite of the drain upon their man- 
power imposed by the war, reorganized their Militia system in such 
a manner as to make them truly effective. A notable case was that of 
Ohio, which reorganized its Militia as the Ohio National Guard on 
31 March 1864. 207 This step was followed up by Adjutant General 
Cowan of Ohio ^ith such efficiency that Ohio was able within the 
space of 12 days to assemble, organize, and arm a total of 36,254 Mili- 
tiamen who were called out to meet the crisis in manpower in the 
spring of 1864. The 41 regiments so raised were sent to man the 
defenses of Washington and the line of the vital Baltimore and Ohio 
Kailroad. Some of them even served with the Army of the Potomac 
and suffered heavy casualties. 208 

205 "Abstract from official records showing the forces called for . . Ibid., ser. Ill, 
vol. IV, pp. 1264-1270. 

206 Ibid. ; Proclamation of the President, 15 Jun 63. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. Ill, pp. 360-361. 
30/1 Annual Report of the Adjutant and Inspector General to the Governor of the State 

of Ohio for the year ending December SI, 186 S (Columbus, 1864), pp. 13-14. 
2o 8 " Fry >g Report," pt. I, p. 54. 



This was the single outstanding contribution of the Militia to the 
war. In general, the objections to the use of short-term troops so 
far outweighed any advantage to be derived from their use that com- 
manders agreed to their acceptance only with reluctance. When Gov. 
R. E. Fenton of New York in February 1865 offered to raise 5 or 10 
regiments of 100-day Militia to be applied on his State's draft quota, 
Grant wrote : "I do not think favorably of Governor Fenton's prop- 
osition. The value of 100-days' men is more than absorbed in getting 
them to where they are wanted and in transferring men relieved by 
them to where they will be needed, and again in relieving them when 
their time expires." 209 

Replacement Resources Within the Army 

Exchanged Troops 

Throughout the war, an important source for maintaining the 
strength of the armies was the return to the ranks of exchanged troops. 
The conclusion in July 1862 of the Dix-Hill Cartel regulating the 
conduct of the belligerents with regard to prisoners of war stipulated 
that all troops captured by either side were subject to exchange. 210 
In June 1862, parole camps were set up at Annapolis, Md., Camp 
Chase near Columbus, Ohio, and Jefferson Barracks, Mo. 211 In these 
camps were to be assembled the troops returned on parole until such 
time as they would be regularly exchanged. From time to time dec- 
larations of exchange were made, whereupon the commanding officers 
of the parole camps were directed to forward to their regiments in 
the field the prisoners released from parole by the exchange. All 
matters pertaining to the control and disposition of paroled prisoners 
were directed by Col. (later Brevet Brig. Gen.) William Hoffman, 
the Commissary General of Prisoners. In addition, military com- 
manders exercising independent command were authorized by the 
Dix-Hill Cartel to exchange prisoners by direct negotiation with the 
opposing commander. 

It is difficult to determine with any accuracy the number of ex- 
changed prisoners who actually returned to the ranks. In some cases 
the regiments to which these men belonged had been mustered out of 
service by the time their release was effected. Desertion was the 
source of considerable loss. The Provost Marshal General of the 
Army of the Potomac complained of the haphazard manner in which 
exchanged troops were returned to that army. In one instance, lists 
containing more than 1,000 names were forwarded but less than 100 
of the men could be found. On another occasion, out of a detachment 

209 Ltr, Grant to Stanton, 26 Feb 65. Official Records, ser. I, vol. XLVI, pt. II, p. 705. 

210 WE) GO 142, 25. Sep 62. Ibid., ser. II, vol. IV, p. 555. 

211 WD GO 72, 28 Jun 62. Ibid., p. 94. 

346225 O - 55 - 9 



of 480 men that left the parole camp at Annapolis, 50 were lost by 
the time it reached Washington and another 50 disappeared between 
Washington and army headquarters on Aquia Creek. 212 

By 26 November 1863, a total of 86,032 enlisted men and 2,536 offi- 
cers had been declared exchanged, 213 by the end of the war, 134,968 
enlisted men and 5,758 officers — an aggregate of 140/T26. 214 

Recovered Sick and Wounded 

The number of sick and wounded men who found their way into 
the hospitals during the Civil War was staggering by 20th century 
standards. At a time when the war was little more than a year old, 
Brig. Gen. William A. Hammond, The Surgeon General, reported 
that 28,383 sick and wounded men were patients in 13 army general 
hospitals. 215 Commanding officers were never entirely satisfied that 
all possible measures were taken to return these men to their com- 
mands at the earliest possible moment. But many of their complaints 
seem to have been exaggerated. Convalescent camps were established 
at an early date in all major commands, through which the recovered 
sick and wounded were forwarded to their regiments. The reports 
of the medical directors of the various armies show that by far the 
larger number of those who were wounded or became sick were re- 
turned to duty. Otherwise, from the very magnitude of the sick lists, 
it would have been impossible for the armies to keep the field. 

Brevet Maj. Gen. Henry J. Hunt, who was chief of artillery for 
the Army of the Potomac from September 1862 until the end of the 
Civil War, told a congressional committee in 1873 that failure to 
establish regimental depots to receive recruits was a major weakness 
of the northern armies. 

He declared that the general hospitals and camps of distribution 
were overrun with men, many of them able-bodied and desirous of 
returning to their regiments, but that administrative difficulties in 
making assignments caused the regiments to go into battle under- 
strength. General Hunt said : 

. . . our Medical Department performed its special duties in such a manner 
as to win the applause of all. ... If the sole object of hospitals and a medi- 
cal department is to care for and cure sick and wounded men, then a great, 
perhaps unparalleled, success was obtained. If, however, the object was to 
cure and return them to their colors, than there was a stupenduous failure, 
and through no fault of the Medical Department. . . . The cause of these 
failures is . . . substituting for a through regimental administration that of 
a number of specialties, without any immediate common head, and trusting to 
their spontaneous joint action. 

212 Msg, Brig. Gen. M. R. Patrick to Col Wm. Hoffman, 7 Jan 63. Ibid., ser, II, vol. V, 
pp. 160-161. 

213 Msg, Hoffman to Hitchcock, 30 Nov 63. Ibid., ser. II, vol. VI, p. 619. 

214 "Consolidated Report of exchange and paroled prisoners of war during, secession 
rebellion/' 6 Dec 65. Ibid., ser. II, vol. VIII, pp. 830-831. 

215 Rpt, Brig. Gen. Wm. A. Hammond, SG, 15 Aug 62. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. II, p. 389. 



Had our regiments been properly constituted, each with its skeleton bat- 
talion, at a fixed depot to receive and utilize all officers, non-commissioned 
officers, and men of the regiments unfit for the field, but fit for garrison serv- 
ice and for training recruits ; had all recruits, sick and wounded men, exchanged 
or paroled prisoners, &c, of the regiment, been sent at once to its depot, and 
thus kept at the disposal of the colonel, under its own officers, these depots, 
many of which might have been established at the same place, would have 
obviated the necessity of "general hospitals," "camps of distribution," &c, 
. . . Nor would it have been necessary to raise new regiments in order to 
replace old ones mustered out; a constant stream of recruits or drafted men 
would have kept up at least one or two of the battalions of each, and thus se- 
cured the benefit of regimental organization and esprit de corps, a feeling more 
or less wasted on the army corps to which these temporary regiments might 
happen, for the hour, to be attached. 216 

The Use of Other Arms as Infantry 

The possibility of converting cavalrymen and artillerymen into 
infantrymen was first considered late in 1861. The extreme popu- 
larity of the cavalry arm in particular had resulted in the recruitment 
of some 80 regiments under the call for 500,000 men, which was more 
than could be conveniently equipped and mounted. Letters were sent 
to the governors of all the loyal States requesting their opinion as to 
the desirability of converting some of these regiments to infantry. 217 
The scheme was viewed coldly by the State executives. In January 
1862, General McClellan suggested that the number of cavalry regi- 
ments be reduced to 50 and that the surplus be converted to infantry. 218 
The influx of new Volunteers under the calls of 1862 made it unneces- 
sary for the remainder of that year to resort to such improvisations 
to strengthen the infantry arm, but the severe losses of the winter 
campaigns of 1862 and the campaigns of 1863 revived the problem 
in more acute form. In February 1864, Colonel Fry suggested that 
some of the regiments of heavy artillery be sent into the field as 
infantry, 219 and in March authority was given to commanding gen- 
erals of armies and military departments to transfer to the infantry 
any cavalryman who was found to be neglecting the care of his horse. 220 

General Orders No. 174 of 22 April 1864 provided that cavalry 
organizations for which horses could not be found would be armed and 
employed as infantry, either as depot and railroad guards or with 
infantry brigades in the field. Under ordinary circumstances the 
proportion of dismounted cavalry was not to exceed 40 percent of that 
assigned to any one command "unless it be found that the remaining 
60 percent cannot be kept efficiently mounted." 221 The employment 
of dismounted cavalry as infantry in the Army of the Potomac con- 

210 H. R. Rpt 74, 42d Cong., 3d Sess., 2 Feb 73, "Army Staff Organization," p. 286. 
2" Ltr, Thomas to the loyal governors, 3 Dec 61. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. I, p. 724. 
218 Msg, McClellan to Stanton, 29 Jan 62. Ibid., p. 873. 
2i» Msg, Fry to Halleck, 29 Feb 64. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. IV, p. 145. 

WD GO 119, 24 Mar 64. Ibid., pp. 198-199. 
22i WD GO 174, 22 Apr 64. Ibid., p. 241. 



tinued well toward the end of 1864 when an effort was made to remount 

The decision to utilize dismounted cavalry regiments and the heavy 
artillery was born of necessity, but it resulted in one of the most suc- 
cessful improvisations adopted during the war. This was particu- 
larly true in the case of the heavy artillery regiments, each of which 
was authorized a minimum strength of 1,740 officers and enlisted 
men. Since there seemed little likelihood at the time of their organi- 
zation that they would be used for anything but garrison duty, they 
became quite popular, and in the spring of 1864 most of them were at 
or very close to full strength. 222 

From 1 May to 15 June, 55,178 reinforcements were forwarded 
through Washington to the Army of the Potomac. Ten regiments of 
heavy artillery furnished 16,095 of these, and an additional 2,314 con- 
sisted of 3 regiments of dismounted cavalry. Thus one-third of the 
replacements to offset the severe losses of the Wilderness were found 
within the Army itself. 223 

Utilization of Prisoners of War and Deserters 

The first attempts to recruit among the prisoners of war came early 
in 1862 and were discouraged by the War Department. 224 Requests 
were made from time to time for permission to enlist prisoners both 
in the Regular Army and in the Volunteer regiments raised during 
that year, and in spite of a direct prohibition hundreds were recruited 
for the 23d and 65th Illinois Infantry. 225 

The policy of the War Department on this issue was perhaps more 
vacillating than on any other. After having refused permission to 
several ambitious colonels to fill up their ranks in this manner, Secre- 
tary Stanton authorized the United States Marshal in New York 
City to determine how many of the prisoners of war confined in New 
York Harbor would be willing to enter the military service of the 
Union. 226 By the beginning of 1863, the policy had changed again, 
and Col. Christian Thielemann was refused permission to fill up his 
16th Illinois Cavalry from among the prisoners of war held at Camp 
Douglas near Chicago. 227 But, on 28 May, Stanton once again per- 
mitted recruiting of rebels into the Army, and the 1st Connecticut 
was credited with enlisting 82 prisoners from those confined in Fort 

222 p-or organization of the artillery regiment see WD GO 110, 29 Apr 63. Ibid., ser. Ill, 
vol. Ill, pp. 175-176. 

223 Msg, Halleck to Grant, 15 Jun 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XL, pt. II, pp. 47-48. 

224 Lt. Col. George G. Lewis, "History of Prisoner of War Utilization in the U. S. Army" 
(Special Studies Series, OCMH), ch. V. 

225 Msg, Mayer to TAG, 24 Feb 62. Official Records, ser. II, vol. Ill, p. 318 ; Msg, 
Hoffman to Thomas, 11 Oct 62. Ibid., ser. II, vol. IV, pp. 615-616. 

226 Msg, Stanton to Robert Murray, 10 Jul 62. Ibid., pp. 162-163. 

227 Msg, Hoffman to Thielemann, 25 Feb 63. Ibid., ser. II, vol. V, p. 297. 



Delaware while 581 from the same camp were recruited for the 3d 
Maryland Cavalry. 228 On 20 June, Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, 
commanding the Department of the Ohio, was authorized by the Secre- 
tary to accept prisoners of war as recruits if he was satisfied that they 
acted in good faith. 229 Similar discretion was granted on the 23d 
of June to Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield, commanding the Depart- 
ment of the Missouri. 230 These concessions were short-lived, however, 
for on 26 August the Secretary notified all department commanders 
that hereafter no prisoners of war would be enlisted without War 
Department sanction in each case. 231 

It is impossible to determine how many Confederate prisoners found 
their way into the Union Army in this fashion. No doubt individual 
regiments were not adverse to enlisting deserters and prisoners of 
war whenever the chance offered, for in December 1864 General Grant 
requested authority to transfer these men at his discretion. "Every 
day," he wrote, "I receive letters from rebel deserters, who, in the 
absence of employment, have enlisted and now find themselves con- 
fronting their old regiments or acquaintances." 232 

In addition to these enlistments in individual regiments, six regi- 
ments composed entirely of prisoners of war were raised for service 
on the Indian frontier. Since these soldiers, if recaptured by the 
Confederates, could expect but short shrift as deserters, it was thought 
best to send them for service in the West where they could release 
an equal number of troops for service at the front. Three regiments 
were raised by General Butler from among the prisoners of war con- 
fined at Point Lookout, Md. They proved so successful that three 
additional regiments were recruited at Alton, 111., and at Camp Doug- 
las for service on the western plains. 

It is difficult to determine the exact number of prisoners of war 
and deserters who enlisted in the armies of the United States. Prob- 
ably the number may be set at less than 10,000, 233 but it did represent 
the results of an intelligent approach by the War Department to the 
possibility of releasing Volunteers serving on the frontier by employ- 
ing Confederate manpower in their stead. 

Replacement of Officers 

There is little evidence to indicate that any provision was made 
at the beginning of the Eebellion to replace officers who might become 
casualties or who might be dismissed for inefficiency or other cause. 

225 Msg, Fry to Stanton, 27 Feb 65. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. IV, pp. 1203-1204. 

229 Msg, Hoffman to Burnside, 20 Jun 63. Ibid., ser. II, vol. V, p. 31. 

230 Msg, Hoffman to Schofield, 23 Jun 63. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. Ill, p. 411. 

231 Msg, Hoffman to Rosecrans (Dix, Morris, and Schofield), 26 Aug 63, Ibid., p. 722. 
233 Msg, Grant to Halleck, 7 Dec 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XLII, pt. Ill, p. 842. 

233 See Lewis, op. cit. 



Paragraph II of General Orders No. 47 of 25 July 1861 provided that 
all Volunteer officers should be subject to examination by a War 
Department board as to their fitness, and that vacancies created 
by the action of this board should be filled by the appointment of 
persons passing the examination. 234 But the outcome seems to have 
been that some governors appointed unfit officers and relied on the 
War Department to get rid of them. 235 

A circular issued on 29 September by the new General in Chief 
Henry W. Halleck, decried the lack of officers among the Volunteer 
regiments. The governors of the several States were urged to fill 
existing vacancies at the earliest possible moment. Halleck also 
requested that these vacancies be filled by "promoting officers and 
non-commissioned officers and privates who have distinguished them- 
selves in the field, or who have shown a capacity for military com- 
mand." 236 These recommendations seem to have been ignored. Gen- 
eral McClellan wrote that one of the most glaring defects in the crisis 
was the absence of a system for the appointment and promotion of 
officers, 237 and a year later General Meade was still complaining of 
the quality of the Volunteer officers. Meade submitted a plan to the 
War Department under which all persons nominated for promo- 
tion or appointment should appear before boards convened by the 
division concerned, and the several governors were to be advised as 
to the fitness of the candidates so examined. This proposal was 
approved by The Adjutant General's Office and by the General in 
Chief, but disapproved by Secretary Stanton on the grounds that 
before any action could be taken, the views of the governor should 
be obtained. 238 

As the war progressed, however, the governors became more acutely 
aware of the necessity of appointing and promoting men capable of 
exercising command. Shortly after the occupation of Atlanta, Sher- 
man wrote that "we have good corporals and sergeants, and some 
good lieutenants and captains, and these are far more important 
than good generals." 239 The system which seems generally to have 
been adopted was the promotion of deserving enlisted men to fill 
vacancies. During the original 3-year term of the 25th Massachusetts 
Infantry, 5 officers were added to the regiment by civil appointment, 
but there were 23 promotions to commissioned rank from within the 

234 WD GO 47, 25 Jul 61. 

236 For the history of mobilization during the Civil War see : Kreidberg and Henry, op. 
cit., ch. IV. 

236 WD Cir [unnumbered], 29 Sep 62. Official Records, ser. III T vol. II, p. 594. 

237 Rpt, Maj. Gen. Geo. B. McClellan to Brig. Gen. Lorenzo Thomas, 4 Aug 63. Ibid., 
ser. I, vol. XIX, pt. I, pp. 89-90. 

238 Msg, Meade to TAG, 11 Sep 63. w/incls. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXIX, pt. II, pp. 168. 

239 Ltr, Sherman to Halleck, 4 Sep 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXXVIII, pt. V, p. 792. 



regiment. An additional 38 enlisted men were mustered out to accept 
commissions in other regiments. 240 During the year 1865, only 1 
officer was appointed from civil life to a commission in Ohio regi- 
ments while 1,082 enlisted men were appointed to commissioned 
rank. 241 

The sole attempt to establish some sort of training plan for officers 
was made in connection with the recruiting of the Negro regiments 
and was the result of civilian enterprise. In Philadelphia, the Super- 
visory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments established a 
free military academy at which instruction was given to applicants 
for commissions in the 11 Negro regiments raised by this group. 242 
The War Department cooperated in this plan by authorizing fur- 
loughs not to exceed 30 days to qualified enlisted men who desired 
to take this training. 243 On the army level, boards were ordered set 
up in each corps or independent command to examine the applicants 
for commissions in the Negro regiments, and those who satisfied the 
examiners of their fitness were granted the 30 days' furlough. 244 
This system, however, was more in the nature of training men for 
commissions in new organizations, and at no time during the war 
was there any general provision for the procurement and training of 
replacements in the officer corps. 


It is inevitable that the lack of planning and the confused and often 
contradictory policies which characterize much of the Civil War 
period should be judged harshly in the light of more recent experi- 
ence. Military and civilian officials accustomed to dealing with hun- 
dreds were suddenly called upon to deal with hundreds of thousands. 
The accusation that the leaders of the 60's failed to plan for a war 
must be tempered by the fact that, with nothing in the past to guide 
them, any plans would have been inadequate. Perhaps it was best that 
the table was clear, or nearly so, from the very beginning. The plan 
of military action conceived by Scott was that which eventually 
brought the war to a successful conclusion, but in everything else im- 
provisation was the rule rather than the exception. Nowhere was 
this characteristic more evident than in the area roughly limited by 
the phrase "maintaining armies." 

240 Rpt, Col. Josiah Pickett, 16 Dec 64, on Operations, 18 Jun-16 Dec. Ibid., ser I, vol. 
XLII, pt. I, pp. 809-810. 

241 Ohio AG Report, 1863, op. ext., pp. 84-123. 

243 Ltr, Webster to Stanton, 28 Jan 64. Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. IV, p. 57 ; Frank 
H. Taylor, Philadelphia in the Civil War, 1861-1865 (Phila., 1913), p. 188; J. R. Sypher, 
History of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps (Lancaster, 1865), p. 320. 

245 WD GO 125, 29 Mar 64. Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. IV, p. 207. 

244 Hq, Army of the Potomac GO 19, 18 Apr 64. Ibid., ser. I, vol. XXXIII, p. 898. 



The problem was realized even by the civilian generals that the war 
brought forth in such great numbers. Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, 
writing to a member of the House Military Affairs Committee, stated 
that the difficulty to be met was the present impossibility of keeping 
the field armies at a strength compatible with successful operations. 
Some adaptation of the French depot battalion system was the solu- 
tion recommended by Butler. 245 There was nothing original about 
General Butler's plan, but it formed the basis for the system advo- 
cated by Emory Upton and a host of disciples for half a century after 
the last rebel had laid down his arms. 

Whatever the merits of Butler's solution, those who had borne the 
responsibility of fighting the war were unanimous in their agree- 
ment that the greatest mistake in the war was the method used in 
recruiting the armies. "When a regiment," wrote Sherman, "became 
reduced by the necessary wear and tear of service, instead of being 
filled up from the bottom . . . the habit was to raise new regi- 
ments." 246 Sherman recommended increased pay as an incentive to 
draw men into the Army: 

... Once organized, the regiment should be kept full by recruits, and when it 
becomes difficult to obtain more recruits the pay should be raised by Congress, 
instead of tempting men by exaggerated bounties. I believe it would have been 
more economical to have raised the pay of the soldier to thirty or even fifty dol- 
lars a month than to have held out the promise of three hundred or even six 
hundred dollars in the form of bounty 247 

The bounty was also condemned by the able Provost Marshal, Gen- 
eral James B. Fry. He estimated that between 1 November 1863 and 
31 October 1864 each Volunteer cost the Federal Government $244.69, 
while the men raised by the draft were raised at the average cost of 
$55.84. A more efficient draft law would reduce this figure to between 
$12 and $15 per man, Fry stated. 248 

One of the most thoughtful analyses of the defects of the recruiting 
system and the wartime draft is to be found in the final report of 
Brevet Brig. Gen. James Oakes, Acting Assistant Provost Marshal 
General for Illinois. He recommended the elimination of most of the 
policies which had tended to hamper the efficient operation of the draft 
as a source of replacement. In any future war, stated General Oakes, 
bounties should be forbidden, and, while Volunteers should not be 
dispensed with, all apportionment of quotas should be in the hands of 
the State provost marshal general. The system of enrollment must 
be revised, for, as the general remarked, "the collector does not go to 

245 Msg, Butler to Maj. Gen. Robt. C. Schenck, 7 Dec 64. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. IV, pp. 

246 Gen. W. T. Sherman, Personal Memoirs (3d ed., New York, 1890), II, p. 387. 
24 * ma. 

248 Msg, Fry to Stanton, 14 Dec 64. Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. IV, pp. 995-996. 



the taxpayer, but the taxpayer comes to the collector, and so I think 
it should be with a military enrollment." 249 It is significant of the 
importance of this report that many of its recommendations were in- 
corporated into the selective service legislation of 1917. When the 
nation was again faced with a major war, the lessons of 1861-65 were 
not forgotten. 

249 Msg, Brevet Brig. Gen. Oakes to Fry, 9 Aug 65. Ibid., ser. Ill, vol. V, pp. 825-835. 




Indian Wars and the Occupation of the South, 1 865-1 877 

For more than a decade following the military collapse of the Con- 
federacy the policies pursued by the dominant political faction of the 
North necessitated the maintainance of substantial numbers of troops 
in those States lately in rebellion. Beginning with the Reconstruction 
Act of 2 March 1867 and continuing until the withdrawal of the garri- 
sons at Columbia, S. C. and New Orleans, La., in April 1877, a large 
proportion of the Regular Army was dispersed in garrisons in the 
Southern States. 1 

The Army and the Department of Interior shared, although not 
always amicably, the responsibility for administration of the affairs 
of approximately 300,000 Indians, most of whom had been crowded 
out of the Eastern States by the increase in the white population and 
had sought haven in the still unsettled West. The principal Indian 
chiefs signed treaties ceding large portions of their territory to the 
United States and the 90 or more tribes were distributed among reser- 
vations which totaled some 72 million acres located in 23 States. 

In addition to carrying out its occupation duties, the Regular Army 
was almost continually engaged in hostilities on some part of the 
Indian frontier. This double responsibility resulted for a time in 
a peace establishment much larger than the Nation had customarily 
supported, but the end of the occupation found the Regulars reduced 
to a strength barely sufficient for the performance of frontier duties. 

Readjustment After the Civil War 

When the Confederate field armies surrendered in April and May 
1865, the North had under arms more than a million men. Immedi- 
ately a clamor arose for the discharge of the Volunteer regiments, and 
within a month after Appomattox the veteran armies of Grant, Sher- 
man, and Thomas had begun to disintegrate. By November 1865, 
more than 800,000 men had been demobilized. A year later, only 

1 An excellent summary of the reconstruction period is that contained in Samuel Eliot 
Morison and Henry Steele Commager, The Growth of the American Republic (New York, 
1942), vol. II. 




11,043 Volunteers were still in uniform, about 10,000 of whom were 
Negro troops. 2 

The Regular Army, upon which fell the double burden of the occu- 
pation and frontier service, emerged from the war badly in need of 
reorganization. Most of the regiments were reduced to mere skeletons, 
units were widely scattered, and wartime legislation had destroyed 
uniformity of organization. As early as 1 May 1865, Maj. Gen. Henry 
W. Halleck, then commanding at Richmond, Va., suggested to Grant 
that it would be well to recruit the Regular regiments up to strength 
at an early date. 3 Hope was expressed that many Volunteer soldiers 
would soon tire of the monotony of civil life and that little difficulty 
would be experienced in recruiting the Regular Army up to its author - 
ized strength. 4 To capitalize on this supposed enthusiasm for army 
life, the War Department authorized the opening of recruiting sta- 
tions "at such points as offer reasonable prospect of enlisting good 
men." Volunteers honorably mustered out of the service were prom- 
ised a 30-day furlough and the payment of all allowances due them 
as Volunteers provided they enlisted within 10 days of discharge. 5 
But although the number of enlistments and reenlistments in the 
Regular Establishment amounted to 19,555 for the year ending 1 
October 1865, 6 the distribution was uneven, and many regiments were 
still badly understrength. Late in October, Maj. Gen. John Pope, 
commanding the Department of the Missouri, reported that the 10th 
Infantry had an aggregate strength of 250 men, while the 3d Infantry 
was composed of 90 enlisted men, 80 of whom would be discharged 
during the course of the winter. 7 Similar complaints were received 
from other department commanders. 

Taking into consideration the expanded responsibilities of the Army, 
especially in connection with the late rebel States, Grant proposed a 
standing army of 80,000 men, but this estimate of the needs of the 
country was whittled down by the Secretary of War to a force of 
50,000 men capable of expansion, without the addition of new organi- 
zations, to 82,600. 8 

2 HR Exec. Doc. 1, 3$th Cong., 2d Sess., "Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1866," 
Message of the President of the United States, and Accompanying Documents, to the Two 
Houses of Congress, at the Commencement of the Second Session of the Thirty-ninth Con- 
gress, p. 1. See also Maj. John C. Sparrow, DA Pamph 20-210, History of Personnel 
Demobilization in the United States Army (Washington, 1952). 

3 Msg, Halleck to Grant, 1 May 65 In Official Records, ser. I, vol. XLVI, pt. Ill, p. 1055. 

4 This was the opinion of Sherman expressed in a letter to Grant : "I think many of them 
will soon tire of the tedium of civil life, and be anxious to enlist in the Regular Army." 
Copy in Official Records, ser. I, vol. XLVIII, pt. II, p. 1050. 

WD GO 99, 28 May 65. Copy in Official Records, ser. I, vol. XLVI, pt. Ill, pp. 1227-28. 
9 Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. V, p. 133. 

7 Rpt, Pope to Grant, 28 Oct 65 in Official Records, ser. I, vol. XLVIII, pt. II, p. 1245. 

8 Ltr, Grant to Stanton, 20 Oct 65 in Official Records, ser. Ill, vol. V, pp. 126-127, 
"Annual Report of the Secretary of War," 22 Nov 65. Ibid., pp. 510-511, 



The following year a thorough reorganization of the Army was 
accomplished by an act of Congress approved 28 July 1866. 9 Under 
the provisions of this act, the three-battalion infantry regiments were 
abolished and 45 regiments of 10 companies each were authorized, 4 of 
which should be Negro regiments. The number of cavalry regiments 
was increased to 10, 2 of which were Negro, and the 5 artillery regi- 
ments of the old establishment were retained. Although a maximum 
of 100 men per company of all arms was authorized, giving the Army 
a maximum strength of 75,382 enlisted men, the peacetime strength 
was fixed at 64 men per company in cavalry, infantry, and dismounted 
artillery companies, and 122 in the light artillery batteries. This gave 
an aggregate enlisted strength of 54,302. On 30 September 1866, The 
Adjutant General announced that the actual strength of the Eegular 
Army was 38,545, but that the full number should be reached by the 
middle of November. 10 

In 1867, the number of enlisted men in the Regular Army climbed 
to 53,962, a postwar peak. Thereafter it steadily declined. More- 
over, with the gradual restoration of civil government in the South, 
a larger standing army no longer seemed necessary, and pressure to 
reduce the Armed Forces began to mount. In 1867, there were 286 
military posts throughout the United States. Of these, 134 were in 
States which had formed the Confederacy. Troops present for duty 
numbered 39,847 officers and enlisted men, and, of these, 17,809 were 
stationed in the late rebellious States. Three years later, in 1870, the 
number of garrisoned posts had been reduced to 202, but only 54 of 
these were in the South, while only 8,951 officers and men out of the 
29,902 reported for duty were stationed in the late Confederacy. 11 

In 1870, the act containing the appropriation for the support of 
the Army directed the President to reduce the number of enlisted 
men to 30,000. 12 A further reduction in enlisted strength was effected 
in the appropriation act of 16 June 1874 which cut the Army to 25,000 
men, and though an additional force of 2,500 cavalry was authorized 
in 1876 to meet the emergency occasioned by the Indian wars of that 
year, the maximum strength was again set at 25,000 by the legislation 

9 PL 181, 39th Cong., 1st Sess., "An Act to Increase and Fix the Military Peace Estab- 
lishment of the tlnited States." Published for the information of the army in WD GO 56, 
1 Aug 66. 

10 "Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1866," op. cit., p. 3. 

11 HR Exec. Doc 1, 46th Cong., 2d Sess., "Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1867," 
Message of the President of the United States, and Accompanying Documents, to the Two 
.Houses of Conpress, at the Commencement of the Second Session of the Fortieth Congress, 
pt. I, pp. 436-473 ; Annual Report of the Secretary of War on the Operations of the Depart- 
ment for the Year 1870, I, pp. 66-87. 

13 PL. 185, 41st Cong., 2d Sess., "An Act making Appropriations for the support of the 
Army for the year ending June thirty, eighteen hundred and seventy-one, and for other 
purposes." Copy in WD GO 92, 22 Jul 70, 



of 1877. 13 An attempt made in the 45th Congress to reduce the Army 
to 20,000 enlisted men was unsuccessful. On 30 June 1878, the Regu- 
lar Army consisted of 2,153 officers and 23,254 enlisted men organ- 
ized into 10 regiments of cavalry, 5 of artillery, and 25 of infantry, 
plus staff and service troops. This organization was maintained un- 
til the emergency brought about by the war with Spain. 

The Recruiting Services 

The progressive reduction of the strength of the Army enabled the 
recruiting services to simplify procedure, as well as to raise the stand- 
ard for recruits. Indeed, the necessity of discharging men from the 
Army was, on occasion, greater than the necessity of getting new men 
into it. The activities of the recruiting services were also limited by 
the amount appropriated for their use by a sometimes reluctant Con- 
gress. 14 The fortunes of the recruiting service in this respect are 
sumarized in the following table : 

Table 7 — Funds Appropriated for the Recruiting Services: Fiscal Years 1867-79* 

Fiscal year 


Fiscal year 



$300, 000 
300, 000 
100, 000 
100, 000 
472, 000 
120, 580 
120, 580 


$121, 000 
105, 000 
105, 000 
90, 000 
75, 000 
75, 000 












*Source: WD GO 48, 19 Jul 1866; WD GO 17, 14 Mar 1867; WD GO 27, 12 Jun 1868; WD GO 15, 11 Mar 
1869; WD GO 53, 30 Apr 1870; WD GO 92, 22 Jul 1870; WD GO 24, 17 Mar 1871; WD GO 46, 15 Jun 1872; 
WD GO 44, 22 Mar 1873; WD GO 58, 18 Jun 1874; WD GO 29, 20 Mar 1875; WD GO 70, 26 Jul 1876; WD 
GO 107, 27 Nov 1877; WD GO 37, 19 Jun 1878. 

During the years immediately following the Civil War, the recruit- 
ing services, both general and regimental, supplied the Army with 
an adequate number of recruits. The total number of enlistments 
and reenlistments between 1 October 1865 and 1 October 1866 was 
36,674 ; in the following year, 34 ? 191. 15 Late in 1867, however, recruit- 

13 Act of June 16, 1874, "An Act making appropriations for the support of the Army for 
the fiscal year ending June thirtieth eighteen hundred and seventy-five, and for other pur- 
poses," 43d Cong., 1st Sess. Copy in WD GO 58, 18 June 74 ; Act of August 15, 1876, 
"An Act to increase the cavalery force of the United States, to aid in suppressing Indian 
hostilities." 44th Cong., 1st sess. Copy in WD GO 88, 22 Aug 76 ; Annual Report of the 
Secretary of War on the Operations of the Department for the fiscal year ending June 30, 
1877, I, pp. iii-iv. 

14 See "Reports of The Adjutant General, 1866-1872" in Messages and Documents. 

15 "Report of The Adjutant General, 1866," Messages and Documents, 1866, pp. 12-13 ; 
"Report of The Adjutant General, 1867," Messages and Documents, 1867, pt. I, p. 474. 



ing activities were sharply curtailed by General Orders No. 101 of 
26 November, and all but four of the rendezvous for each arm of the 
service were ordered closed. Simultaneously, the enlisted strength 
of all infantry and dismounted artillery companies was reduced to 
50 men each. As a result, only slightly more than 14,000 enlistments 
and reenlistments, about equally divided between the General and 
Regimental Recruiting Services, were reported by The Adjutant Gen- 
eral for the year ending 1 October 1868. 16 Recruiting on the former 
scale was not resumed until April 1869 when, by direction of the Sec- 
retary of War, both general and regimental recruiting was resumed. 17 
Although the Regimental Recruiting Service was technically under 
the control of The Adjutant General, the funds coming from appro- 
priations for that office, the regimental commanders as ex officio super- 
intendents of their own recruiting services enjoyed considerable lati- 
tude in recruiting for their individual organizations. In 1870, how- 
ever, the first of a series of orders was issued which eventually all 
but suppressed the Regimental Recruiting Service. All irregular 
recruiting rendezvous were closed except those for Negro infantry, 
and regimental recruiting officers were directed to make no enlist- 
ments or reenlistments which would be a charge on the recruiting 
fund. 18 

In 1872, the recruiting service was placed under the direction of 
The Adjutant General, responsible only to the Secretary of War. 19 
The supremacy of The Adjutant General in this field was made com- 
plete with the publication of a new edition of Army Regulations in 
1881 which stated that "as a rule, recruiting funds will not be fur- 
nished for the regimental service" without special authorization. 20 
Instructions for the recruiting service issued in 1873 stated that since 
the superintendents of that service stood to the recruiting stations in 
the capacity of department commanders, the commanding generals 
of military geographical divisions and departments could not exer- 
cise any supervision or control over the posts and stations used for 
recruiting purposes except in cases of extreme emergency. 21 The 
results of this policy of centralization can be seen in the recruiting 
statistics for the year ending 1 October 1873. Of 9,881 enlistments 
and reenlistments made during the period, 7,650 were made by the 
General Recruiting Service. 22 

M "Annual Report of The Adjutant General, 1868," Messages and Documents, 1868, pt. 
I, p. 768. 

17 WD GO 46, 26 Apr 69. 

18 WD GO 115, 3 Oct 70, par. VII. 
tt WD GO 111, 30 Dec 72. 

20 Regulations of the Army of the United States and General Orders in Force on the 17th 
of February 1881 (Washington, 1881), par. 832, p. 79. 
31 WD GO 87, 27 Aug 73. 

23 "Report of The Adjutant General 1873," Messages and Documents, 1878, I, p. 80. 



The act of Congress limiting the enlisted strength of the Army 
to 25,000 men caused the War Department to discontinue recruiting 
altogether in June 1874. Only noncommissioned officers and meritori- 
ous soldiers might be reenlisted, and then only if they reenlisted at 
the post where they were stationed at the time their enlistments ex- 
pired. 23 By the middle of November, the number of enlisted men in 
the Army having fallen below 25,000, recruiting was resumed on a 
restricted scale. Except for reenlistments made in companies or at 
posts, "all enlistments must be made by officers on the General Recruit- 
ing Service." 24 Except for a brief flurry of activity by the Mounted 
Recruiting Service to increase the strength of the cavalry regiments 
as authorized by Congress in 1876, recruiting was continued on a 
scale sufficient only to maintain the Army at its limit of 25,000 en- 
listed men. During the fiscal year ending 30 June 1878, the total 
losses from all causes was 5,558. There were 6,039 enlistments and 
591 reenlistments. On 30 June the enlisted strength of the Army was 
23,254. 25 In spite of the discontinuance of the Regimental Recruiting 
Service, the Army was maintained at very near authorized strength 
through the agency of the General Recruiting Service. 


Desertion continued to be the largest single replacement problem 
in the years following the war. The War Department threatened 
and cajoled in turn. In Februray 1866, a reward of $30 was offered 
to anyone who turned in a deserter; 26 in July of the same year, de- 
serting Regulars were promised that if they returned before 15 
August "they would be returned to duty without trial or punish- 
ment," the sole condition being that they made good the time lost 
while absent. 27 The ineffectiveness of these measures is indicated 
by the fact that in an Army of 53,962 men 13,608 desertions occurred 
between 1 October 1866 and 20 September 1867. 28 

Brevet Brig. Gen. James Totten, Inspector General of the De- 
partment of the East, reported that the 1st and 3d Regiments of 
Artillery, averaging 710.5 men each, suffered 261 and 205 desertions 
respectively during 1866. 29 In 1868, the commanding officer of the 
3d Artillery wrote cynically : 

The number of desertions in the department seems to have consider- 
ably diminished during the past year ; but this is owing undoubtedly to the 

23 WD GO 62, 22 Jim 74. 
3 * WD GO 126, 20 Nov 74. 

25 "Report of The Adjutant General, 1878," Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 187 8 j 
I, table B, facing p. 10. 

26 WD GO 7, 1 Feb 66. 

27 WD GO 43, 3 Jul 66. 

28 "Report of The Adjutant General of the Army, 1866," Messages and Documents, 1867, 
pt. I, pp. 416, 435. 

29 Rpt, Brevet Brig Gen and Asst IG Jas. Totten, 22 Oct 67. Ibid., p. 176. 



organizations not having been replenished with recruits, and to the fact that 
most of those of former supply, disposed to desert, had already done so 
rather than to any inherent improvement in the hearts of the soldiery, or 
to any decided removal of the cause, whatever that may be. 30 

In another instance Brevet Maj. Gen. E. O. C. Ord, commanding 
the Department of California, reported that a post garrison of 86 
men "had lost 54 men by desertion, and every deserter had carried 
off a good horse and repeating rifle." 31 And Secretary of War 
William W. Belknap declared the 1871 pay reduction for privates 
from $16 to $13 per month was another major cause for desertions. 
His report pointed out that each desertion not only left a vacancy 
in a military unit, but the United States lost $80, the cost of recruit- 
ing and transporting a new man to fill the post. 32 

By the end of the occupation period, however, not only had the 
number of desertions declined, but their ratio to the whole number 
of troops had decreased significantly. For the fiscal year ending 
30 June 1873, desertions numbered 7,271, but for the year ending 
30 June 1878, only 1,678 men had deserted. This improvement the 
Secretary of War attributed to the greater care exercised in the se- 
lection of recruits. 33 

Proposals for Reorganizing the Army 

The experience of the war had made it obvious that the practices 
and policies which sufficed to maintain a small frontier army were 
entirely inadequate to cope with a full-scale conflict. Although pub- 
lic sentiment refused to sanction a departure from prewar policies, 
chiefly expressed in congressional refusal to vote funds for a thor- 
oughgoing reform of the Army, a number of plans and proposals 
were submitted which indicated that military men recognized the 
necessity for revising radically the system by which the Regular 
Army should be recruited in peace and expanded in case of a national 

A problem which occupied a prominent place in the minds of the 
military was that of providing adequately trained replacements for 
the regiments engaged in active duty on the frontier. Congress in 
1866 attempted to meet the problem by authorizing a pool 3,000 men 
over and above the number required to fill to the minimum all the 
regiments of the Army. 34 This authorization was negated by the 
inability of the recruiting services to build the regiments of the 
Army to their minimum strengths; hence no recruits were left over 
to form the proposed pool. A similar proposal was made by the 

80 Rpt, Brevet Maj Gen T. W. Sherman, Messages and Documents, 1868, pt. I, p. 277. 
31 Rpt, Brevet Maj Gen E. O. 0. Ord, 27 Oct 68. Ibid., p. 50. 

82 H. Ex. Doc. 1, 42d Cong., 2d Sess., "Report of the Secretary of War," Nov. 6, 1871, 
pt. 2, vol. I, pp. 0-7. 

83 Report of the Secretary of War, 1878, I, p. iii. 
8 *PL 181, op. cit. 



Secretary of War in his annual report for 1874, and again in 1877 
The Adjutant General suggested the establishment of a pool of 
trained recruits who could be assigned where needed. 35 These later 
proposals came at a time when legislation severely limited the size 
and activity of the Army, and no attempt was made to put them into 

A subcommittee of the House Military Affairs Committee (the 
Maish Committee) in 1878 conducted hearings relating to the reor- 
ganization of the Army. The oral and written testimony contained 
in the report of this subcommittee is a valuable source for the opinions 
of most of the ranking officers of the Army. 36 Many of the colonels 
and lieutenant colonels of the peacetime establishment had held im- 
portant commands during the Civil War, and the proposals submitted 
by them represent attempts to avoid the shortcomings so glaringly 
revealed in 1861. One suggestion advocated by a number of witnesses 
was to resume regimental recruiting and establish the regimental 
service on a territorial basis. Opposition to this proposal was voiced 
by Lt. Col. Edmund V". Rice of the 5th Infantry, on the practical 
grounds that if a disaster, such as that which befell the 7th Calvary in 
1876, overtook a regiment, "the misfortune would fall upon one 
neighborhood, . . . and would have a demoralizing effect and in- 
terfere with further recruiting in that vicinity : . . . " Colonel Rice 
advocated a return to the system which Washington had used in the 
formation of his light infantry battalions. He recommended that 
regiments stationed in the east be used as replacement pools and re- 
cruit depots for those stationed on the frontier. Adoption of this 
system, he maintained, would provide a ready source of trained men 
for the regiments actually engaged in hostilities. 

Various proposals were offered in the years following the close of 
the war as to the best method of expanding the* Army in time of war. 
The theory of an expansible army was still prominent, and many of 
the suggestions were based on the premise that the existing establish- 
ment would be expanded through the simple expedient of increasing 
the size of companies, troops, and batteries. Typical of these was the 
plan submitted by Maj. Gen. J. M. Schofield, superintendent of the 
United States Military Academy, and the former commander of the 
Army of the Ohio : 

If a sudden emergency should require a moderate, but speedy increase of 
the Army, it could be raised to about 50,000 men by simply filling up the skele- 
ton companies and increasing all the companies to one hundred men. 

85 "Report on mode of increasing the Army," Report of the Secretary of War, 1877, 
10 Sep 77, vol. I, pp. 47^9. 

36 H. R. Misc. Doc. 56, 45th Cong., 2d Sess., Report of a Subcommittee of the Committee 
on Military Affairs relating to the reorganization of the Army [Maish Committee] 
(Washington, 1878), See pp. 16, 24, 90, 116, 153, 243-44 for testimony quoted here. 

346225 O - 55 - 10 



In case of war on a large scale the companies might be increased to two 
hundred or even two hundred and fifty men each. Each regiment would then 
become a brigade, . . . and [the entire Army] would aggregate from 96,000 to 
120,000 men. 

On the other hand, systems based on the formation of new regi- 
ments around cadres of trained officers and enlisted men were pro- 
posed. As early as 1868, Brevet Maj. Gen. Thomas W. Sherman de- 
clared that the role of the Regular Artillery in wartime should be to 
serve as a center of instruction for "the raw and uninstructed masses 
of volunteer artillery, suddenly brought into the field. . . . The ex- 
perience of the first years of the late war is alone sufficient to justify 
this remark." 37 Colonel Rice suggested that new regiments be formed 
by requiring each existing regiment to send one-third of its junior 
officers and a certain proportion of its noncommissioned officers to 
centrally located rendezvous where fillers could be recruited. 38 Brevet 
Brig. Gen. R. H. Jackson, 1st Artillery, proposed that in addition to 
the Regular officers of the cadre, "Second lieutenants can be appointed 
from the graduates of universities and institutions of learning at 
which officers of the Army are now stationed as instructors in mili- 
tary science and tactics." 39 

More comprehensive than, and differing radically in theory from, 
the generally accepted idea of an expansible Regular Army was the 
system put forward by Col. John Gibbon, 7th Infantry. "Many of 
those," he wrote, "who had experience in the late war soon had their 
minds disabused of the idea that in case of an emergency 'our volun- 
teers' pure and simple, constitute the finest troops in the world for 
military operations." 40 Therefore, he continued, any system which 
could be devised to drill and discipline the potential Volunteer regi- 
ments on which the country would be forced to rely in time of war 
ought to be carefully considered. Furthermore, the Army officers 
rendered surplus by the last reduction in the strength of the Army 
should be utilized in forming a reserve corps. To accomplish this, 
each Regular regiment would be assigned a certain territory, usually 
a State, with the larger States being assigned two or more regiments 
of different arms. To the Regular regiments would be assigned 1 or 2 
regiments of State troops, depending on the scope of the plan, and 
to those regiments would be assigned Regular officers who should be 
responsible for the training and discipline. When called to active duty 
by Presidential proclamation,, the Reserve . regiments would be bri- 
gaded with the Regulars, which would enable them to become combat 
ready in a minimum of time. This, and a somewhat similar plan 41 

37 Rpt, Brevet Maj. Gen. T. W. Sherman, op. cit., p. 276. 

38 Maish Committee Report, pp. 248-249. 

39 Ibid., p. 158. 
"Ibid., pp. 125, 127. 
41 Ibid., pp. 150-151. 



offered by Maj. Thomas M. Anderson, 10th Infantry, were apparently 
never seriously considered, but in them may be found the genesis of 
the National Guard. 

Efforts To Improve Training 

Numerous and urgent calls by frontier posts upon the recruit depots 
resulted in detachments being sent out from the depots as frequently 
as the required number of men could be collected and organized. No 
time was allowed for instruction. In the annual report for 1873, 
Brig. Gen. R. B. Marcy, The Inspector General, called attention to 
this situation and suggested recruits should receive additional instruc- 
tion. 42 There were some efforts to develop better methods. Officers 
and enlisted men who were specially qualified in the instruction of 
recruits were assigned to the depots, while new regulations placed 
greater stress on discipline and efficiency. Four companies of about 
80 men each were formed for instruction purposes at the recruit depots, 
and the depot detachments supplied men who performed the per- 
manent duties at the garrisons. 43 

New men were given some training before they joined their regi- 
ments and they would have received more, but additional funds re- 
quested from Congress were not provided. The War Department 
Annual Report for 1876 stated : " . . . the hope entertained in the 
previous report, that the service might be so conducted as to permit 
the detention of raw recruits at depots for 3 or 4 weeks, with a view 
to instruction in the first principles of drill and subordination previous 
to joining companies in the field, has owing to the demands of the 
service, only been partially realized." 

The Adjutant General, Brig. Gen. R. C. Drum, in 1882 called 
attention to the slight knowledge of the service and its requirements 
which men possessed on first entering the Army. He proposed that 
recruits be retained at the depots at David's Island, Columbus Bar- 
racks, and Jefferson Barracks, for 4 months before being sent to regi- 
ments. 44 He suggested that during these 4 months recruits be given 
instruction that would introduce them to the duties of military life ; 
transform raw men into well-instructed soldiers; and provide an 
opportunity to determine positively their fitness for active service 
by the application of proper tests requiring time and observation. 

He further pointed out that many men enlisting in good faith de- 
veloped such inaptitude for service that to retain them in the ranks 
proved a burden rather than a benefit. Although recruiting officers 
were rejecting three-fourths of the applicants, some of the unfit were 

42 H. Ex. Doc. 1, 43d Cong., 1st Sess., Annual Report of the Secretary of War, Nov. 24, 
1873, pt 2, vol. I, p. 88. 

43 Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 188 5, 1, p. 76. 

** Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1882, 1, pp. 27-28. 



accepted ; physical requirements were exacting, but the examinations 
did not turn away applicants lacking in mental capacity or moral 
standards. 45 General Drum believed that such unfitness would become 
known at the depots if the men were retained there longer. Men who 
were found to be lacking soldierly qualifications could then be promptly 
discharged and the Government would be saved the expense of their 
transportation to remote frontier posts and return. Congress did 
not provide the additional funds, but the depots increased training, 
holding men an average of about 3 months. 

In 1884, The Adjutant General declared : "Recruits should be assem- 
bled in depots and retained there 6 months if necessary. This pre- 
liminary weeding out would be cheaper than transporting worthless 
men to distant garrisons. Men of weak character spoil the good 
men." 46 Six months 5 training for recruits was a goal never achieved 
during the period of the Indian wars. The Adjutant General in 1884 
did not foresee what lay ahead in the way of recruit training. Within 
10 years, troops in the field were accepting men who had not even a 
few weeks of training. 

First Classification of Enlisted Men 

The Army practice of classifying men according to civilian and 
military skills, which in later years involved the assignment of military 
occupational specialty numbers (MOS) , underwent a little-noticed but 
significant development during this period. Musicians, artificers, and 
wagoners had long been recognized as specialists within the Army, 
but the next development in the classification procedure came out of 
the kitchen. 

Army Regulations and Federal law required the privates of a com- 
pany, detailed in turn, to cook for a period of 10 days. 47 The men 
ordered to prepare the food seldom knew much about that art, but 
many decades of indigestion went by before Congress, on 29 Janu- 
ary 1879, passed a law 48 repealing the statute for compulsory detail 
of cooks and giving company commanders more discretion. In 1884, 
The Inspector General proposed that each company enlist two pro- 
fessional cooks and that each post have a professional baker ; 49 in 
1887, The Adjutant General recommended that each company enlist 
one man solely as a cook and excuse him from all other military duty. 50 
These recommendations did not bring immediate results. Company 
officers who were prohibited from going outside the Army to hire 

40 Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 188%, I, p. 91. 

4T Revised TJ. 8. Army Regulations, 1 Mar 73, art. XXXIV, p. 41. 

48 Act of Jan 29, 1879, "An Act to Repeal Section Twelve Hundred and Thirty Three of 
the Revised Statutes relating to company cooks in the Army," 45th Cong., 3d Sess. Copy 
in TJ. 8. Statutes at Large, ch. 34, p. 276. 

4 * Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 188%, I, p. 92. 

w Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1887 , 1, p. 82. 



cooks 51 generally designated a soldier as head cook, excused him 
from ordinary military duty except target practice, and detailed cer- 
tain other members of the company as assistants. Head cooks usually 
held grades above that of private and sometimes received extra com- 
pensation from company funds. During the war with Spain, each 
company or battery was authorized one cook who was rated as a 
corporal. 52 Congress on 2 March 1899 authorized two enlisted cooks 
with sergeants' pay in each battery or company. 53 Recruiting officers 
selected men who appeared to be qualified, but company commanders 
determined whether or not the rating would be held. 54 

Indian Scouts 

Troops on the western frontier employed Indians in many capaci- 
ties. They were useful as guides and usually accompanied military 
units on patrols. The Regular Army, under an act of Congress 
passed 28 July 1866, 55 was authorized to enlist one thousand Indian 
Scouts. Lt. Gen. William T. Sherman, General in Chief of the Army, 
had recommended that these Scouts be formed into companies or 
battalions, but this proposal was not adopted and the Scouts were 
distributed among Regular Army units already in existence. 56 

The Scouts were enlisted for 3 years and drew the pay and allow- 
ances of cavalry soldiers, plus 40 cents a day if they furnished their 
own serviceable horses and horse equipment. Orders from the head- 
quarters of the Army, published from time to time, announced the 
number allowed to military departments. 

These Indians performed valuable services in many frontier mili- 
tary operations. The negotiations with Chief Joseph prior to his 
surrender in the vicinity of the Bear Paw Mountains in Montana, 
5 October 1877, provide one example of the advantage of using Indian 
scouts. Two friendly INez Perce, old men who had daughters in 
Joseph's camp, entered the lodge and persuaded the hostile chief to 
give up after he had rejected demands made by Army officers. 57 

A general order published in March 1891 58 authorized the enlist- 
ment of 1 company of Indians for each of the 26 regiments of white 
cavalry and infantry serving west of the Mississippi River, Mili- 

61 WD GO 7, 25 Jim 99, par. 2115. 

62 WD GO 94, 12 Jul 98. 

63 Act of March 2, 1899, "An Act for Increasing the Efficiency of the Army of the United 
States and for other Purposes," 55th Cong., 3d sess. Copy in Z7. S. Statutes at Large, 
XXX, ch. 352, p. 977. 

M WD Cir 18, 29 Mar 99. 

55 Act of July 28, 1866, "An Act to Increase and Fix the Military Peace Establishment 
of the United States," 39th Cong., 1st Sess. Copy in U. S. Statutes at Large, XIV, ch. 199, 
sec. 6, p. 333. 

M Rpt, Lt. Gen. W. T. Sherman, 1 Oct 67, Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1867, 
pp. 381-382. 

B7 Rpt, Brig. Gen. O. O. Howard, 19 Nov 77, sub : Operations against Nez Perce Indians. 
Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1877, I, p. 631. 
« WD GO 28, 9 Mar 91. 



tary officials hoped they would be able to divert a considerable num- 
ber of the Indians belonging to the warlike tribes to legitimate activ- 
ities and teach them habits of obedience, cleanliness, and punctuality. 59 
During the next 6 years, 1,071 Indians were enlisted or reenlisted for 
service in the Indian units, but by 1897 the War Department con- 
cluded: "Notwithstanding strenuous and intelligent efforts on the 
part of the officers selected for the recruiting, command, and man- 
agement of the several Indian troops and companies, the Indian con- 
tingent has never reached a degree of substantial success as useful 
soldiers." 60 On 31 May 1897, the discharge of the 53 members of 
Troop L, 7th Cavalry, the only remaining Indian unit, marked the 
end of the experiment with units made up of Indians.. Indian scouts 
were used for many more years, however, as members of Regular 
Army units. 

Efforts To Create a Reserve Force 

The Morrill Act of 2 July 1862, which required certain land grant 
colleges to give instruction in military tactics, was designed to provide 
the United States Army with a reserve of trained men who could 
qualify as officers. By 1888 there were 50 Army officers and 10 Navy 
officers detailed as instructors at colleges. The Army also provided 
that certain ordnance property should be made available to those 
colleges which conducted training. 61 

The small Army which was operating at widely separated western 
posts was in no condition to conduct extended operations, should the 
international situation require it to do so. It was this weakness which 
caused a number of officers to consider the need for an enlisted reserve 
force. In 1886, Ma j. Gen. Alfred H. Terry, superientendent of the 
Division of the Missouri, in a report to The Adjutant General, 
observed : 

It is no longer possible in any country to improvise an effective army. . . . 
The great military strength of every nation lies in its men who are between 
twenty and thirty-five years of age, and the men who were over twenty years 
of age at the termination of the Civil War over forty now. . . . None of 
the troops of either party to that contest received the training in the use of 
arms that the existing conditions of war demand. . . . Trained and in- 
structed troops perform two functions at the outbreak of war — they meet the 
first onset of the eenmy, and they also furnish the instructors to train newly- 
raised men. 62 

A report by the Inspector General stated that the average age of 
men who enlisted in the Cavalry was 23 years, in the Infantry and 

69 "Report of the Adjutant General," 1 Oct 1891, Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 
1891, I, p. 81. 

60 "Report of the Adjutant General," 19 Oct 1897, Annual Report of the Secretary of 
War, 1897, 1, p. 218, 

81 WD GO 100, 1879 ; U. S. Army Regulations, 17 Feb 81, art. VIII. 

6 ?Rpt, Maj Gen. A. H. Terry, 10 Sep 66, Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 188€, 
vol. I, p. 121-122. 



Artillery 24 years, and that the average age of men who reenlisted 
in the Cavalry was 30 years and in the Infantry and Artillery 34 
years : 63 all too high. It had been found undesirable, however, to 
enlist minors. It was suggested that the length of service of private 
soldiers should be limited to three enlistments of 5 years each, retaining 
only noncommissioned officers until they were eligible to retire. The 
Inspector General believed that such a change would keep the Army at 
a high standard of efficiency and that the men who would be in service 
would be in better physical condition. He thought that returning 
men to civil life while they were still capable of resuming civilian occu- 
pations would be an advantage because discharged men with military 
experience would provide a Reserve. 

The minimum recruiting age was raised from 18 (for a time it was 

16) to 21, and the maximum age was reduced from 35 to 30. 64 Men 
over 35 who were out of the service for 3 months could reenlist only 

if they could show that their reenlistment would be for the best inter- 
est of the service. Otherwise they were expected to return to civilian 
life and become part of the Reserve. The Reserve created by these 
measures was only a potential force — it had neither organization nor 
records. Its principal importance was the evidence it gave that mili- 
tary men were beginning to realize the importance of a supply of 
trained men who could fill units in case of emergency. 

Attempts To Economize 

By 1884, the rapid expansion of railways and the settlement of the 
West had resulted in the abandonment of some of the smaller mili- 
tary posts and in the concentration of troops at larger permanent gar- 
risons, 65 a tendency which continued as the population grew. Later, 
adverse economic conditions caused more men to enlist. By 1890, 
extensive economies in the operation of the Army, especially the 
recruiting service, appeared to be necessary. Additional stress was 
placed on regimental recruiting under which officers supplied recruits 
to their own units thereby eliminating much expense. The Adjutant 
General assigned each regiment recruiting territory and regimental 
commanders selected recruiting officers, adopting their own method 
of operation but keeping with the scope of general instructions. 

The following quotation from a circular letter sent to regimental 
commanders illustrates the recruiting methods sometimes used : 

A captain or a lieutenant, to be specially detailed and announced in orders 
in the usual manner, may be sent with a party of say eight or ten men, in- 
cluding a field musician, and supplied with such suitable means of transporta- 
tion as may be available at regimental headquarters, together with the neces- 
sary camp equippage, etc., for a tour of the surrounding country, to cover from 

63 Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1891, 1, p, 82-83. 

64 Revised U. 8. Army Regulations, 1895, par. 838. 

66 Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1884, 1, p. 6. 



one to three weeks or more as circumstances may warrant. . . . Upon the re- 
turn of one such party, another officer and party could be sent out in a dif- 
ferent direction — or from another post of the regiment, with the approval of 
the department commander — this to be repeated as often as desirable, thus 
giving an opportunity to different officers and a number of enlisted men to 
share in the duty of recruiting for the regiment and of contributing toward 
securing for its ranks a desirable class of men, an object in which all mem- 
bers of the regiment should be alike interested. 66 

The 11th Infantry, which had two parties in the field in western 
New York in 1884, obtained 135 recruits in less than 4 months by the 
method described above. Not only did many regiments keep their 
ranks filled but they also were able to disseminate information about 
the Army in communities where the residents knew little concerning 
the military service. All regimental commanders who were willing 
to undertake recruiting activities were encouraged to do so. Some 
who tried the plan against their own judgment still produced good 
results. Under this system of recruiting, the regiments became more 
closely identified with the communities from which their men came. 
This was considered desirable and Col. It. P. Hughes, Inspector Gen- 
eral, urged that regiments be localized to an even greater extent. 67 

The Closing of the Recruiting Depots 

Generals commanding military geographical divisions or depart- 
ments did not have control over the recruit depots which were under 
the superintendent of the General Recruiting Service, responsible only 
to The Adjutant General. 68 Critics of this arrangement contended 
that The Adjutant General should not exercise command; a number 
of officers believed that the posts where recruits were received should 
be under division and department commanders, rather than under 
a staff officer. It was pointed out that a staff officer had no legal au- 
thority to administer military justice, enforce discipline, carry on 
instruction, or administer a unit. 69 

The business depression of 1893 brought an increase in the number 
of men seeking enlistment. It also brought an added impetus for 
economy. By 1894, regimental recruiting was procuring about half 
of the men who entered the Army. The reduced importance of the 
recruit depots provided an additional argument for a major reor- 
ganization. The Army was so near its authorized strength that few 
recruits were needed and only those with outstanding qualifications 
were accepted. Many general recruiting stations were closed. These 
new recruiting conditions, along with the desire for greater economy, 

M Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1891, 1, p. 80. 
OT Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1888, 1, p. 101. 
w WD GO 87, 27 Aug 73. 

69 Misc. Doc. 56, 45th Cong., 2d sess., Report Relating to the Reorganization of the Army; 
See also the report of a court of inquiry investigating the causes for the removal of Col. 
John Gibbon, 7th Inf, as Superintendent of the General Recruiting Service in WD GO 
109, 11 Nov 73. 



were reflected in a new set of regulations governing the recruiting 
service. 70 

As of 1 October 1894 the superintendent of the General Recruit- 
ing Service was relieved. No successor was appointed, and matters 
pertaining to the office were placed under the supervision of a deputy 
in the Adjutant General's Office. The recruit depots at Jefferson Bar- 
racks, Mo., Columbus Barracks, Ohio, and David's Island, N". Y., 
were discontinued and the quarters they had occupied taken over by 
troops of the line, the commanding officer of each post becoming re- 
sponsible for a recruit rendezvous. A fourth such rendezvous was 
established at Fort Sheridan, 111. The General Recruiting Service 
could send recruits to the nearest of the four new rendezvous points, 
or directly to regiments, as directed by The Adjutant General. Actu- 
ally, the rendezvous points were seldom used. 

There was no recruiting detail during 1894, but recruiting stations 
were designated at those posts at which the recruiting rendezvous 
had been discontinued. Officers made surplus by the closing of the 
recruit depots filled vacancies in a number of units. Enlisted mem- 
bers of detachments, bands, and other depot personnel, except certain 
noncommissioned officers needed at recruit stations, were assigned to 
regiments. A decision of the Acting Secretary of War, announced 
14 September 1894, determined in more detail the status of a recruit 
by stating that men who entered the Army for the first time ceased 
to be recruits and became privates when orders assigned them to regi- 
ments. 71 This usually happened within a few days after enlistment. 
Recruiting detachments at the recruiting stations or rendezvous were 
placed under post commanders for police and discipline, but were 
under the Secretary of War for all other matters. In an effort to 
reduce costs, one member of each recruit detachment was selected as 
a leader and the detachment traveled under his supervision without 
other escort. 72 

The Secretary of War, in his annual report for 1894, described 
the recruits who were enlisting in the Army at that time as men of 
high quality. 73 The Act of 1 August 1894 74 confined enlistments to 
citizens, or those who had declared their intention to become citizens, 
who were not over 30 years of age and were able to speak, read, and 
write English. During 1895, 7,780 men were recruited, of whom 
5,518 were native born and 2,262 foreign born. 75 Many served for long 
periods without being naturalized. 76 More than half of those who 

T0 WD GO 33, 16 Aug 94. 

71 WD Cir 11, 3 Oct 94. 

72 WD Cir 3, 12 Nov 95. 

75 Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1894, P- 11-12. 

M Act of Aug. 1, 1894, "An Act to Regulate Enlistments in the Army of the United 
States." Copy in WD GO 30, 8 Aug 94. 

75 Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1895, p. 5. 

™ Statement, Brig. Gen. Kobert E. Wylie (Ret). HIS 330.14. 



sought enlistment were rejected, either for physical deficiencies, lack 
of education, or for other reasons. 

From 1894 until 1904, all recruits who enlisted at central recruit- 
ing stations were sent directly to units. A large proportion of those 
enlisting at city stations were sent to the posts without passing through 
a rendezvous. Those recruits who did go to rendezvous points spent 
little time there because assignments to regiments and posts were made 
every 10 days. As long as the Army had little difficulty obtaining as 
many men as it needed, this system appeared satisfactory. 

During the fiscal year ending 30 June 1897, there were 4,762 gen- 
eral recruits forwarded to regiments, 3,879 going directly from re- 
cruiting stations and 883 from rendezvous. 77 The largest number of 
recruits at the four rendezvous at any one time was 108, the smallest 
number 19. The average total was 45, or 11 for each rendezvous, a 
number so small that any attempt at training was unprofitable. In 
that year, 3,581 men enlisted at the posts where they were to serve, 
the Government incurring no expense for their transportation. 

A report by The Inspector General in 1897, depicting the two meth- 
ods that units in the South Atlantic District were using in assign- 
ing men, disclosed what was happening in the regiments as a result 
of this change. Some units assigned recruits to companies immedi- 
ately, others placed the new men under the supervision of a training 
officer. The Inspector General of that district declared : 

I believe that where a suitable officer is available for this duty the latter 
plan [assignment of recruits to training officers] should prevail at all large 
posts, and whenever large detachments of recruits are received at any post. 
Assisted by even-tempered, intelligent, and capable noncommissioned officers* 
the officer is able to give a thorough course of training. . . . When assigned 
to companies immediately upon arrival the instruction to the recruit is often 
interrupted, or, if not, is imparted by anyone, apt or inapt, who may be avail- 
able for the purpose. As a result the instruction is not thorough and the 
attributes of the recruits not well understood. Again, under this system, they 
are the fags of the company, being called on for all kinds of fatigue. 78 

The companies, which were receiving men who had no preliminary 
training, were now conducting recruit instruction and were doing the 
work that previously had been a depot function. 

The business depression of this period helped to fill the ranks of 
the Army, but the subsequent industrial development which brought 
increased demand for laboring men and sent daily wages up as high 
as $2.75 for skilled workers tended to dry up the stream of recruits. 
Slight increases in army pay, bringing the scale up to $15 per month, 
along with more intensive recruiting, still failed to fill the shrinking 

""Report of The Adjutant General," 19 Oct 97, "Annual Report of the Secretary of 
War, 1897/' p. 216. 

rt "Report of the Inspector General," 18 Oct 97. Ibid., p. 138. 



ranks of the military units. The Army Recruiting Service was only 
beginning to feel this depressing influence when the War with Spain 
interrupted peacetime routine and brought a flood of volunteers. 

The War With Spain and the Philippine Insurrection 

The Military Campaigns 

The major military actions in the 4 months' war against Spain took 
place in Cuba, in the Philippines, and in Puerto Rico. The campaign 
in Cuba started 14 June 1898 when Maj. Gen. W. R. Shafter's com- 
mand sailed from Tampa for Santiago. Maj. Gen. Nelson A. Miles 
arrived off Santiago 11 July and the Spanish commander in Cuba 
surrendered 17 July. Troops under Maj. Gen. Wesley Merritt sailed 
for the Philippines 25 May and Manila fell on 13 August. Troops 
landed in Puerto Rico 27 July and by 12 August had participated in 
six engagements and occupied a large portion of the island. 79 

The United States and Spain signed a protocol on 12 August 1898 
which suspended hostilities. The treaty of peace which was signed 
by delegations from the two nations at Paris on 10 December 1898 
was ratified by the United States on 6 February 1899 and by Spain on 
19 March 1899. 

The Regular Army 

Some increases were made in the Regular Army before the declara- 
tion of war against Spain on 25 April 1898, so the most important 
being the addition of two regiments of artillery, the 6th and the 7th, 
in March. 81 To accomplish this augmentation, batteries in existing 
artillery regiments transferred a few key men giving each new battery 
a nucleus of approximately 15 experienced soldiers. 82 At the begin- 
ning of the conflict, the Regular Army contained 2,134 officers and 
27,351 enlisted men. 83 

The increase in the military forces took place under the authority 
of two acts of Congress 84 that gave the Regulars about 61,000 men 
and provided for a Volunteer force made up of units from the State 

79 Annual Report of the War Department, 1898, I, pp. 3-7. 

80 Act of April 25, 1898, "An Act Declaring that War Exists Between the United States 
of America and the Kingdom of Spain," 55th Cong., 2d Sess. Copy in V. S. Statutes at 
Large, XXX, ch. 189, p. 364. 

81 Act of March 8, 1898, "An Act to Authorize Two Additional Regiments of Artillery," 
55th Cong., 2d Sess. Copy in U. S. Statute® at Large, XXX, ch. 53, p. 261. 

82 "Annual Report of the Adjutant General'' 1 Nov 98, Annual Report of the War 
Department, 1898, p. 253. 

83 Heitman, op. ext., p. 289. 

84 Act of April 22, 1898, "An Act to Provide for Temporarily Increasing the Military 
Establishment of the United States in Time of War, and for Other Purposes," 55th Cong., 
2d Sess. Copy in U. S. Statutes at Large, XXX, ch. 187, p. 361 ; Act of April 26, 1898. 
"An Act for the Better Organization of the line of the Army of the United States." 
Ibid., ch. 191, p. 364, 



militias that agreed to be mustered into Federal service, plus certain 
other Volunteer regiments and engineer units. 

Lack of officers prevented the General Recruiting Service from sig- 
nificantly increasing the number of city recruiting stations, only 7 
having been added by October 1898, bringing the total to 22. Some 
branch stations were opened. During the fiscal year ending 30 June 
1898, the General Recruiting Service enlisted 19,988 men while the 
Special Recruiting Service enlisted 9,219, making a total of 29,207, 
exclusive of 314 for the staff departments. 85 During the following 
year, the General Recruiting Service enlisted 53,123 and the Special 
Recruiting Service 8,516, making a total of 61,639, exclusive of 536 
for the staff departments. Not all of these went to the Regular Army 
inasmuch as a considerable number were assigned to Volunteer units. 
An attempt to obtain more recruits by reducing the minimum age 
from 21 to 18 years did not meet with approval of The Surgeon Gen- 
eral, who said younger men were more susceptible to ailments common 
to army camps. 86 

Infantry regiments, under peace conditions, were organized with 
2 battalions of 4 companies each and 2 unmanned companies. After 
the declaration of war, the President, under authority granted him 
by the laws governing the mobilization of the Army, established a 
third battalion of 4 companies in each infantry regiment. Regi- 
mental commanders were urged to send out recruiting parties to enlist 
the men needed to bring their organizations to war strength, but they 
frequently could not comply because most of them moved to concen- 
tration points and soon thereafter left for overseas with expeditionary 
forces. During May, June, and July of 1898, there were 25,500 enlist- 
ments in the Regular Army, a large number coming in through the 
General Recruiting Service. Many of the organizations that could 
not fill their ranks by their own recruiting efforts received an appor- 
tionment of the men who volunteered through the General Recruiting 
Service. Existing regiments selected noncommissioned officers and 
men capable of instructing recruits and transferred cadres to the new 
battalions. Infantry companies were increased to 106 men, cavalry 
troops to 100 ; batteries of heavy artillery to 200 ; light artillery 173 ; 
and engineers, 150. 

The prewar practice of sending out recruits from recruiting stations 
and rendezvous points every 10 days could not be continued after a 
considerable number of the military units had departed from the 
United States for foreign service. Military authorities soon discov- 

85 "Annual Report of the Adjutant General" 1 Nov 98, op. ext., p. 276 ; "Annual Report of 
The Adjutant General" 25 Oct 99, Annual Report of the War Department, 1899, p. 30. 

88 "Annual Report of the Surgeon General" 10 Nov 98, Annual Report of the War 
Department. 1898, p. 697-698. 



ered that it would be necessary to have some convenient point where 
these recruits could assemble. Fort McPherson, Ga., was first selected 
as a collecting point for recruits enlisted for the regiments in Cuba 
and Puerto Rico, but that post later was transferred to the Medical 
Department for exclusive use as a general hospital. 87 After this 
transfer, recruits who had been at Fort McPherson, or who were on 
their way there, were distributed among several camps in Georgia 
where they waited, receiving only such training and administration 
as could be given by the few officers who were available for recruit 

On 15 April, most of the Regular Army regiments had been ordered 
to concentration points in the South. Regular and Volunteer troops 
were formed into eight Army corps with headquarters as follows : I, 
III, and VI — Camp Thomas, Ga. ; II — Falls Church, Va. (later Camp 
Meade, Pa.) ; IV— Mobile, Ala.; V and VII— Tampa, Fla.; VIII— 
San Francisco, Calif. 

There never was time to test the proposal of Maj. Gen. Nelson A. 
Miles, commanding the Army, that "at least 22 regiments of infantry, 
5 regiments of cavalry, and the light artillery be mobilized, and placed 
in one large camp where they can be carefully and thoroughly 
inspected, fully equipped, drilled, disciplined, and instructed in bri- 
gades and divisions, and prepared for war service." 88 

Regiments of "Immunes" 

An attempt to reduce the heavy losses from tropical diseases by 
forming special units made up of men not susceptible to such illness 
did not prove successful. The first legal provision for regiments to 
be formed by enlisting men having certain specified qualifications 
was contained in the act of 22 April 1898, but the Secretary of War 
did not attempt to form any units under that measure. An act passed 
11 May 189 8 89 provided for a Volunteer brigade of engineers enlisted 
from the Nation at large and for a Volunteer infantry force not to 
exceed 10,000 men possessing immunity from diseases incident to 
tropical climates. It was assumed those who had recovered from 
such diseases would be immue. Ten infantry regiments (called 
"immunes 55 ) were formed under this measure, the officers obtaining 
most of the enlisted men by means of regimental recruiting parties. 
Four regiments of "immunes 55 were sent to Cuba in August, but medical 
officers who inspected the men upon their arrival reported that recruit- 
s' IUd. y p. 275. 
**lUd. t p. 18. 

89 Act of May 11, 1898 "An Act to Provide for a Volunteer Brigade of Engineers and an 
Additional Force of ten thousand Enlisted Men Specially Accustomed to Tropical Cli- 
mates," 55th Cong., 2d Sess. Copy in U. S. Statutes at Large, XXX, ch. 294, p. 405. 



ing officers apparently had paid little attention to the matter of immu- 
nity, there being not more than 3 or 4 men who had recovered from 
yellow fever in each company. The Surgeon General later reported 
that these regiments suffered as much from tropical diseases as other 

The Volunteers 

Two days after the declaration of war, the President called for 
125,000 Volunteers and within a short time the quota was filled. A 
second call on 25 May for 75,000 also brought the number requested. 
About 251,000 volunteered for military service during the war. These, 
added to the 29,000 men who were in the Regular Army before its 
expansion started, made a total of about 280,000 men who served 
during the conflict. 91 

Militia units in the various States volunteered for Federal service 
and were mustered by Federal officers. The War Department was 
under pressure to recognize a large number of State units in order to 
provide for a larger number of commissioned officers. 92 Militia units 
which were mustered into Federal service included : 

Cavalry : 2 regiments, 2 squadrons, and 9 troops. 
Artillery: 1 regiment (heavy), 8 batteries of heavy artillery, and 
16 battalions of light artillery. 

Infantry : 119 regiments and 13 battalions. 
Volunteer units raised from the nation at large included : 

Engineers : 3 regiments. 
Special Cavalry : 3 regiments. 
Infantry (immunes) 10 regiments. 

State Militia companies usually did not exceed 60 men. Upon mus- 
ter a considerable number of these gave reasonable grounds for not 
volunteering and were released. 93 About 25 percent failed to pass the 
physical examination. The result was that only about 30 men in each 
company could qualify for muster and, since the Government required 
at least 77, it was necessary to take about 47 recruits into each militia 

Recruiting parties were sent from the Volunteer organizations to the 
localities where the troops had been raised, enlistments being also 
made at the State camps and in the field. Slightly over 40,000 had 
been enlisted at the time of the signing of the protocol which suspended 

00 "Annual Report of the Inspector General" 6 Oct 99, Annual Report of the War Depart- 
ment, 1899, 1, pt. 2, p. 91. 

91 Heltman, op. cit., pp. 287-289. 

02 Annual Report of the War Department, 1899, I, pt. 2, p. 10. 
nibid., p. 11. 



hostilities. These men, in most instances, were hastily obtained and 
were examined only briefly, with little inquiry into their background. 
Many were eliminated in more rigorous postmuster examinations. 
The strength of the State companies was depleted to such an extent 
that The Adjutant General proposed a consolidation which would 
have resulted in fewer regiments, but in a larger number of trained 
men per regiment. This proposal was not accepted, and it was neces- 
sary to assign about 40,000 general recruits to the State Militias to 
bring the companies to the maximum authorization of 106 men per 
infantry company. 

The organization of the Militia within the several States was not 
uniform. Some regimental and battalion staffs contained officers and 
noncommissioned officers not provided for by any law or regulation 
of the Army. The elimination of these unauthorized positions re- 
sulted in reductions in rank which frequenly were difficult to make 
without injustice to some officers. 

The report of an inspection made at Chickamauga Park in May of 
1898 on the condition of 33 regiments from 18 States disclosed that 
40.6 percent of the men were raw recruits, 34.4 percent were soldiers 
with less than 1 year of training, and 25 percent had received more 
than 1 year of training most of which had been gained in the Na- 
tional Guard. 94 As a partial result of this report the Acting Inspec- 
tor General on 28 May 1898 recommended that all regimental recruits, 
convalescents, deserters, f urloughed men, paroled prisoners, stragglers, 
or absentees of any other form be sent to regimental depots. 95 He 
said that under the system he was recommending these depots would 
become unfailing sources for supplying men to regiments. Here these 
recruits could be instructed and equipped as well as await mustering 
out after the conflict was over. This plan provided that command- 
ing officers of regiments would submit requisitions whenever the 
strength of their units dropped 10 percent. It also called for a re- 
serve of not less than 25 percent of the entire military force, or about 
70,000 men. 

This propped recruit depot system was not adopted ; brigades and 
regiments established their own schools of instruction for recruits 
which frequently were not effective. On 5 June, General Miles said 
that in the 14 Volunteer regiments which were being prepared for 
service in Cuba between 30 and 40 percent of the men wfere undrilled 
and that in 1 regiment 300 men had never fired a gun. 96 

M The term "National Guard" was in use in New York as early as 1861 ; it was adopted 
In Ohio in 1864. The term came into general use after adoption of the National Defense 
Act of June 3, 1916. 

95 Annual Report of the War Department, 1899, 1, pt. 2, p. 85. 

06 Annual Report of the War Department, 1898, 1, pt. 1, p. 24. 





[Table 8 shows the strength of the Regular and the Volunteer forces 
during each of the 4 months of the war.] [See also chart 6 for re- 
placement sources.] 

Table 8 — Strevgth of Regular anil Volunteer Armies: May-August 1898 * 

End of month 



Enlisted men 

Total Army Strength 


June - 

July ... 


Regular Army Strength 





Volunteer Army Strength 





163, 592 
208, 237 
265, 529 
272, 618 

38, 816 
47, 867 
54, 048 
56, 362 

124, 776 
160, 370 
211, 481 
216, 256 

9, 358 

10, 967 

11, 218 

2, 191 
2, 198 
2, 327 
2, 323 

6, 221 

7, 160 

8, 640 
8, 895 

*Source; "Annual Report of The Adjutant General," Annual Reports of the War Department, 1899, vol. 
I, pt. 2, table C, facing p. 10. 

The Volunteer Signal Corps 

The Signal Corps of the Regular Army experienced difficulty in 
finding replacements. At the beginning of the war, 8 officers and 
50 men, widely scattered throughout the country, were assigned to 
signal duty. The Regular Army was supposed to furnish a signal 
force of 454 officers and 1,816 enlisted men who were to be taken from 
line units, but only 7 officers and about 50 partially trained men were 

This deficiency was met by a Volunteer Signal Corps which was 
authorized 138 officers and 1,115 enlisted men and which actually con- 
tained, at its maximum strength, approximately 115 officers and 1,000 
enlisted men. Recruiting started 2 June 1898 with centers operating 
in most of the large eastern cities. 

Field officers were appointed from the captains and lieutenants of 
the Regular Signal Corps, as far as their limited number permitted. 
Fourteen of the most capable sergeants were promoted to second 
lieutenants. Six Regular lieutenants were promoted to captains and 
two West Point graduates then in civil life were given commissions 

346225 O - 55 - 11 



in the grade of captain. The National Guard furnished a number of 
officers. 97 

Within 30 days, the Corps was organized and partly equipped and 
one of the companies was already in the field with the Army in Cuba. 
Two-thirds of the officers and enlisted men accepted were skilled elec- 
tricians or telegraphers. 

The Failure To Replace Losses 

Veteran Army officers with Civil War experience knew that trained 
replacements were needed for military units if they were to continue 
in action for any length of time, but 30 years of peacetime retrench- 
ment had lost the Army most of the facilities it needed in order to 
furnish trained loss replacements. General recruiting stations, which 
normally enlisted most of the replacements, had been reduced in num- 
ber because they were expensive. Regiments had been encouraged to 
replace their losses by sending out their own recruiting parties, a 
method that saved money. In 1894, the Army had discontinued re- 
cruit training in those depots which were still operating after the 
Civil War; the regiments gave the recruits basic training in their 
own companies. 

Most of the rendezvous points and depots, which might have been 
expanded to form a replacement system, were operating at greatly 
reduced capacity or had been discontinued. Staff plans made no pro- 
vision for enlarging or reopening any of these depots for replacement 
troops, and the units which took part in the Santiago and Puerto 
Rican campaigns sailed without any provision to replace any losses 
they might suffer. The same was true of the Philippine expedition, 
but the more extended operations in those islands made it necessary 
a few months later to establish a depot for recruits in San Francisco. 
The operations against Spain were brief and the deaths from 1 May 
to 31 August (totaling 2,430) were less than 1 percent of the men 
who served in the Army. Consequently, few loss replacements were 
needed. 98 

The outbreak of yellow fever and other tropical diseases among the 
troops in Cuba was so severe that on 14 July the Secretary of War can- 
celed all further shipments of troops to that island, thus depriving 
the units there of any replacements from the United States." The 
entire 24th Infantry Regiment Avas employed in operating a hospital 
in Cuba and nursing the sick.* By 21 July, there was one or more 
yellow fever cases in each of the regiments. By August, the V Corps, 
which had been in action less than 2 months in Cuba, had compara- 
tively light combat losses (23 officers and 237 enlisted men killed, 99 

97 "Report of the Chief Signal Officer" 10 Oct 98, Ibid., pp. 878-879. 

98 Annual Report of the War Department, i899, 1, pt. 2, table C, facing p. 10. 

99 Annual Report of the War Department, 189 8, 1, pt. 1, p. 34. 



officers and 1,332 enlistfed men wounded) , but disease had taken such 
a heavy toll that the corps was judged unfit even for occupation duty. 

The men who might have served as corps replacements were scat- 
tered, and the task of getting them to Cuba in time to do any good 
was too formidable for the War Department to undertake. The V 
Corps returned to the United States and eight other regiments were 
sent to Cuba to replace it; the corps came back to join the replace- 
ments instead of the replacements moving forward to join the corps. 

The San Francisco Depot 

The first expedition for Manila departed 25 May 1898, and by 29 
July seven convoys from San Francisco had sailed for the Philippines. 
Many of the National Guard regiments, which had come to San Fran- 
cisco understrength, sent recruiting officers back to their respective 
states to enlist additional men. These recruits generally did not ar- 
rive in the Philippine Islands until October, Thousands of recruits, 
many without equipment or uniforms, gathered at San Francisco 
making it necessary to organize a large depot where they could be 
housed and trained. 

At first, nearly 10,000 men were encamped at Camp Merriam on 
the Presidio reservation near the Lombard Street entrance. When 
it was announced that the expeditionary force to the Philippines was 
to be increased to 20,000 men, a new camp was established near the 
northern boundary of Golden Gate Park. This was Camp Merritt, 
from which 18,000 troops departed for Manila, but which later was 
given up for another location on the Presidio reservation. 100 

The fourth convoy, which sailed from San Francisco 15 July, took 
with it the first group of men to sail as replacements for units taking 
part in the campaign. Thereafter recruit detachments were shipped 
at intervals, departures continuing after fighting with the insurgents 
broke out in February 1899. 

The San Francisco depot forwarded 7,816 recruits to the Philippines 
between 1 March and 20 September 1899 and also filled vacancies in 
those units, sailing for the Philippines. During this same period, 
3,584 recruits were forwarded to regiments in Cuba and 1,728 to Puerto 

Later the San Francisco recruit depot was closed and recruits for 
the Philippines passed through the recruiting rendezvous at Columbus 
Barracks, Ohio. The San Francisco depot was opened again 15 
October 1901 and operated for about a year because of increased recruit- 
ing for the Philippines. At one time more than 4,000 men were under- 
going training there while waiting to sail. The elimination of many 
unsuited for military service prevented the transportation of undesir- 

100 "Report of the Surgeon General" 10 Nov 98, IMd., p. 713. 



able men to the islands. During 1902, when the strength of the units 
in the Philippines was reduced, privates in their first enlistment who 
had 2 years or more to serve were transferred out of those organiza- 
tions scheduled to leave and placed in those remaining in the islands, 
with a consequent reduction in the number of recruits required. 

Depot Battalions for Units Serving in the Tropics 

After the War with Spain, a large portion of the United States 
Army was stationed overseas. The distribution of troops on 1 October 
1899 was: 

Country Troops 

Total 97,538 

United States (including personnel en route) 51, 536 

Cuba 11,369 

Puerto Rico 3, 365 

Philippine Islands 31, 268. 

The Army soon discovered that the health of northerners serving 
in tropical climates was undermined rapidly. In 1899 each of the 
regiments in Cuba designated 1 of its 3 battalions as a depot battalion, 
to which were transferred men who were about to be discharged, those 
who were ill, or those who were ineff ectives for other reasons. 101 These 
depot battalions returned to the United States for a year" before they 
were again recruited to full strength and returned to foreign service. 
They were then replaced in the States by another battalion designated 
by the regimental commander, a practice which reduced the length 
of service in the tropics to 2 years for most soldiers. While the depot 
battalions were in the United States, they received and trained recruits 
who were to serve in the regiments overseas. From 1899 until 1903, 
the War Department directed a number of other Regular Army regi- 
ments, particularly those in Puerto Rico and the Philippines, to return 
depot battalions to the United States. 
Locations of these depot battalions included : 

1st Infantry at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. 

2d Infantry at Fort Thomas, Ky. 

5th Infantry at Fort Sheridan, 111. 

8th Inj: antry at Fort Snelling, Minn. 

10th Infantry at Fort Crook, Nebr. 

15th Infantry at Madison Barracks, N. Y. 

24th Infantry at Vancouver Barracks, Wash. 

25th Infantry at Fort Sam Houston, Tex. 

5th Cavalry at Fort Myer, Va. 

2d Artillery in the Department of the East. 

Annual Report of the War Department, 1899 , I, pt. 2, p. 8 ; WD GO 153, 21 Aug 99. 



Volunteers for the Philippine Insurrection 

The Volunteer Army had been authorized only during wartime or 
when war was imminent; consequently, the suspension of hostilities 
with Spain made it necessary to muster out the volunteers, although 
the situation was tense in the, Philippines. The Adjutant General 
recommended that the Regular Army be increased to a strength suffi- 
cient to take care of all overseas military duties. On 18 August 1898, 
it was announced that half of the Volunteers, or 100,000 men, would 
be released, and detailed instructions to that effect were published a 
few days later. 102 The mustering-out of the Volunteer regiments, ex- 
cept for those in the Philippines, started 5 September; the Regular 
Army discharged those men who had enlisted for the duration of the 
war. The matter of the Nation's military forces came before Con- 
gress, which passed a bill on 2 March 1899 103 authorizing a Regular 
Army of only 65,000 men but supplemented by 35,000 Volunteers to be 
recruited from the country at large. In June of 1899, the mustering- 
out of the Volunteer regiments that had served in Cuba and Puerto 
Rico was completed and the Volunteers started returning from the 
Philippines. All had been released by November. 

On 5 July 1899, the President authorized the organization of the 
first 10 infantry regiments of the new group of Volunteers. A few days 
later authorization was given for two more Volunteer infantry regi- 
ments and a Volunteer cavalry regiment formed in the Philippines. 
These units were activated in the islands and many of their men en- 
listed there, but they also received fillers from the United States. Ten 
additional Volunteer infantry regiments, recruited in the United 
States, were authorized in August. On 9 September, the President 
directed the formation of two regiments with colored enlisted men. 

Recruiting stations were established in all camps where Volunteers 
were being demobilized so that men could return from the Philippines, 
go to a mustering-out center, receive their discharge, then step across 
to the recruiting office, reenlist, and return to the Philippines. 104 Be- 
tween 10 July and 20 September, 26,442 men were enlisted for these 
new regiments of Volunteers which started moving to the Philippines 
in September. General recruiting officers increased their efforts in 
order to obtain men to fill the Regular Army vacancies created by the 
release of men who had enlisted only for the duration of the war. All 
Volunteers serving overseas who did not reenlist there were brought 
home, released, and replaced by a new group of Volunteers enlisted 
under the authority of the act of 2 March. 

102 WD GO 24, 20 Aug 98. 

103 Act of March 2, 1899, "An Act for Increasing the Efficiency of the Army of the 
United States, and for other purposes," 55th Cong., 3d Sess, Copy in U. 8. Statutes at 
Large, XXX, ch. 352, p. 979. 

104 Annual Report of the War Department, 1899, 1, pt. 2, p. 30. 



Colonels of the new Volunteer regiments were Regular Army of- 
ficers, but many of the officers of lower grade were selected from the 
Volunteers, and appointments were distributed among the states on 
the basis of population. Promising noncommissioned officers who 
attended regimental schools were selected to fill officers positions which 
became vacant after the regiments were formed. A number of officer 
vacancies were filled from the First Class of cadets at West Point, 
which was graduated 15 February 1899, 4 months ahead of the usual 
time. 105 Officers who were appointed from civil life appeared before 
regimental boards which recommended those found qualified to the 
Adjutant General specifying the grades of the proposed appoint- 
ments. 106 

Developments Which Affected Future Replacement Policies 

Some of the deficiencies in the United States military establishment 
which were brought to light during the War with Spain and the 
Philippine Insurrection were carefully studied in later years. Medi- 
cal boards devoted much time to the consideration of typhoid fever, 
which had caused serious illness in the camps in the United States, 
and to yellow fever and other tropical diseases which took heavy 
tolls overseas. The development of the vaccine used against typhoid 
came about as a direct outgrowth of experiments conducted after 
the War with Spain. Voluntary antityphoid vaccination was started 
in 1909 and was made compulsory in 1911. 107 Inoculations were given 
all replacements in subsequent military operations. 

The increase in the strength of the United States Army stationed 
overseas following the war with Spain had much to do with the later 
development of the replacement system. It became necessary to 
rotate men on foreign service by predetermined schedules. Before 
1910, the Army attempted to follow a policy of replacing units on 
foreign service rather than replacing individuals. In order to get 
ready for foreign service a unit in the United States would transfer 
all its members who were to serve less than the required overseas 
tour and who indicated they did not care to reenlist. 108 Such an 
extensive turnover prior to the departure of a unit was unsatis- 
factory. In 1910, the system was changed and only those persons 
who had less than 4 months to serve were transferred from regi- 
ments. This practice made it easier for a unit to prepare for foreign 
service but resulted in more expirations of terms of service overseas, 

105 Ibid., I, pt.l, p. 539. 

loe WD Circular Letter, 6 Jun 98. 

107 Annual Report of the War Department, I,-p. 340. 

108 Memo, WDGS, 15 Dec 39, sub : Comparison of Individual and Unit Replacement Sys- 
tems for Personnel on Foreign Service. G-l/15943. DRB, TAG. 



thereby increasing the replacement problems for units on for- 
eign service. Regiments overseas were spoken of as "Colonial Regi- 
ments." 109 

In 1912, a system of individual replacements was adopted, but unit 
rotation appears to have been practiced in some instances until about 
the time of World War I. After the system of individual rotation was 
placed in operation, it was found that men who arrived overseas were 
quickly absorbed by the units to which they were assigned, for non- 
commissioned officers could quickly indoctrinate new arrivals. 110 

An incident in Manila in late 1914, or early 1915, demonstrated 
the value of intensive recruit training. Some 800 recruits, who had 
been exposed to both measles and mumps on shipboard, arrived at 
Manila Bay. The Mariveles Quarantine Station could not handle 
such a number; consequently they were quarantined on the B target 
range at Fort William McKinley and were not released until 10 days 
had elapsed after the last case developed. Five officers were detailed 
to administration and instruction and the 6 weeks during which the 
men were held in the camp were used for recruit training. At the 
end of this period the hardened recruits were easily integrated into 
units. 111 

109 Statement, Maj. Gen. Charles H. White (Ret) . HIS. 330.14. 

110 Statement, Col. C. Hildebrandt (Ret). His 350.05. 

111 Statement, Maj. Gen. Charles H. White (Ret). His 330.14. 



The Return to the Recruit Depot System, 

The replacement system operates in its simplest form when a recruit 
enlists at a military post and is assigned to duty on that post, receiv- 
ing his training from the officers under whom he later will serve and 
costing the Government little. Small posts far removed from cen- 
ters of population enlisted few men, but at the turn of the century the 
tendency was to rely upon them to do much of the recruiting. There 
were fewer central recruiting offices, although some were maintained 
in the larger centers of population. 

Recruits received basic training within the regiments, with com- 
manders distributing new arrivals equally among companies or skele- 
tonizing one company and sending all recruits to it. Under this latter 
plan the companies of a regiment would be stripped in turn, each 
giving up men and receiving a new increment of recruits. 

By 1904, most of the organizations of the Regular Army were under- 
strength and organization commanders were complaining about the 
lower quality of the men. War Department official reports blamed 
recruiting officers for accepting men who were below standards in 
what was described as "attempts to set records for the most enlist- 
ments." 1 Stringent physical qualifications were still required on 
paper, but apparently these regulations were not being enforced to 
the extent' that had prevailed a few years before. The lower quality 
of the men who were being enlisted was further indicated by increas- 
ing rates of desertion. 2 Regimental and company officers complained 
that many soldiers joined without understanding the terms of service; 
they believed they could quit the Army the same as they could quit 
any other job. 

In an effort to remedy this unsatisfactory situation and stop the 
complaints that were coming from unit commanders, the War Depart- 
ment went back to the recruiting system which had been abandoned 
in 1894 when recruiting depots had been closed as an economy measure. 
In 1904, the Army reestablished recruiting depots at Fort Slocum, 

1 Annual Reports of the War Departments 1905, pp. 12, 403. 

2 War Department Annual Reports, 1910, 




N". Y. ; Jefferson Barracks, Mo. ; and Columbus Barracks, Ohio. 3 Since 
these three depots were not sufficient to take care of all the men needed, 
recruit depot posts were designated and were located at Fort Sam 
Houston, Texas; Fort Bliss, Texas; Jackson Barracks, La.; Fort 
Logan, Colo. ; Fort Snelling, Minn. ; Fort McDowell, Calif. ; Vancouver 
Barracks, Wash.; Fort Lawton, Wash.; Fort Wright, Wash.; Fort 
William Henry Harrison, Mont. ; and Fort Douglas, Utah. The over- 
head personnel for the operation of these depots was drawn from the 
regiments of the line. 4 Applicants no longer were enlisted at recruit- 
ing stations but were merely accepted there, after which they were 
sent to the recruit depots or to the depot posts where they underwent 
final physical examinations and those found qualified were then 

In many instances, when recruits were examined at recruiting sta- 
tions, the recruiting officers relied upon the advice of civilian physi- 
cians concerning the physical condition of the applicants. Frequently 
those physicians were not familiar with the requirements of the mili- 
tary service and accepted men who did not meet the standards. The 
employment of civilian physicians as examiners of recruits at general 
recruiting stations was discontinued in 1906. Thereafter, if the service 
of an Army medical officer was not available, recruiting officers them- 
selves, assisted by enlisted members of the recruiting parties, examined 
the applicants. Those who appeared to be qualified were sent to.the 
depots or depot posts, where Army medical officers gave them their 
final examinations. 

The recruits were not detained at the depots for the purpose of 
receiving instruction ; they remained there only long enough for officers 
to determine their physical fitness for the service. However, they were 
exercised daily at drill and in athletics and were given as much instruc- 
tion as possible in the limited time available. 

In February 1905, officials of the War Department, believing that 
the depots were being inefficiently operated, ordered the depot train- 
ing units to be given permanent status and the depot commanders to 
retain recruits for longer periods, usually about 25 days. Officers from 
the General Recruiting Service replaced those depot officers who had 
been drawn from line organizations. Permanent parties composed 
of specially selected privates and noncommissioned officers performed 
garrison duties and instructed the recruits, who were organized into 
provisional companies. 

Elimination from the military service of the undesirable recruit 
before he reached an organization of the line was one of the important 

3 The following publications contain regulations having to do with recruit depots : WD 
GO 159, 10 Oct 04 ; WD GO 74. 20 May 05 : WD GO 135, 15 Aug- 05 ; WD GO 143, 
22 Aug 05 ; WD GO 154, 20 Sep 05 ; WD GO 194, 15 Nov 05. 

4 Annual Reports of the War Department, 1906, I, p. 590. 



functions of the recruit depots. 5 After 1906, recruits attended courses 
of instruction which included daily both lectures and practical demon- 
strations on military subjects. Those who could not pass, or who 
otherwise were found to be not qualified for the service, were dis- 
charged. During the 25 days or so the men were in the depots before 
being assigned to organizations they acquired a fair understanding 
of a soldier's duty. 

The officer commanding the depot had charge of the applicant from 
his arrival until he was sent to his permanent company, or, in case 
of a rejection, until he was put on the train to return home. It was 
at the depots that the recruits received their first, and what probably 
was their most lasting, impressions of the Army. When these impres- 
sions were favorable the soldiers found it easier to adjust themselves 
to army life. 6 Many commanders showed great personal interest in 
the men. An inspection report stated that the commanding officer 
of the Columbus Barracks Depot personally superintended the issue 
of clothing and toilet articles and the safe storing of the applicants' 
civilian clothing. 7 Applicants were kept from contact with other 
enlisted men except for such dealings as were necessary with the small 
receiving detachment. The inspection report added that the practice 
of keeping new men to themselves almost eliminated two grave 
dangers — graft and the playing of practical jokes. It was almost im- 
possible to avoid these abuses when the applicants went directly to 
the companies immediately after their enlistment. 

After extensive tests, depot commanders approved a 36-day course 
of instruction which was adopted 6 December 1910. 8 It provided 
for the practical instruction of each squad in the care of person, 
clothing, arms, and equipment, in drill and firing regulations, and in 
guard duty. Theoretical classwork included cleaning and care of 
the rifle, care of equipment, care of health, guard duty, knowledge 
of the articles of war, and outlines of first aid. A report from Fort 
McDowell Depot on the operation of this plan pointed out that no 
progressive schedule of instruction had been adopted for most of the 
classes because of frequent changes in personnel and time lost from 
bad weather. Medical officers had divided the instruction in hygiene 
and first aid among themselves on a regular schedule. There was 1 
lecture each month on coast artillery at the batteries and 1 on army 
land transportation at a corral. Other lectures were given on such 
subjects as terrain features, map reading, judging distances, taking 
cover, scouting, and message bearing. Before the sailing of a trans- 
port, four special lectures on hygiene were given to the men who were 

5 WD GO 130, 16 Jul 06. 

6 WD Cir 41, 26 Jul 06. 

7 War Department Annual Reports, 1908, I, p. 411. 

8 War Department Annual Reports, 1911, 1, p. 233. 



about to embark. This type of instruction brought the recruit into 
more intimate association with his officers and gave him an apprecia- 
tion of their interest in him. Instructors adopted informal methods, 
employing simple, direct, and familiar language, and giving prac- 
tical illustrations. Most lectures were held in the open air, for there 
was no suitable covered place for large assemblies, and often the 
members of a class had to march as far as 5 miles. 

Maj. Gen. Frederick D. Grant, commanding general of the Depart- 
ment of the Lakes, in his annual report for 1910, stressed the advan- 
tages which had accrued from the system of training recruits before 
they were assigned to organizations : 

The training of recruits before assigning them to their permanent organi- 
zations in the Army has proved not only a success, but one of very great value 
to the Army. The recruit now joins his company, troop, or battery feeling 
that he is a soldier and is able to take part in the drills and exercises of his 
organization without difficulty. He is self-reliant and sufficiently trained so 
as not to commit mistakes that bring forth remarks from his drill-master and 
older companions that would humiliate him. Recently I saw a battery of 
artillery and a squadron of cavalry, nearly all of the enlisted men being recruits 
of recent assignment, go through, drills and exercises with a degree of effi- 
ciency that would have been a credit to any organization. Certainly the idea 
of training recruits at the recruiting rendezvous before assigning them to 
their permanent organizations was a most beneficial one. . . ,° 

In 1911, the commanding officer of the Fort Slocum Depot declared : 

The maintenance under one noncommissioned officer of the integrity of the 
squad to which a recruit is assigned upon his enlistment permits a depend- 
able record of the personal characteristics and progress in instruction of the 
recruit to be kept from which reliable information as to his stability for the 
service can at any time be obtained. With this system m operation no recruit 
with disqualifying physical or mental defects should escape discovery within 
the time a recruit is expected to remain at the depot prior to his assignment 
to an organization. The system is so thoroughly established that it is now 
the basis of many of the most important features of the administration of the 
depot. 14 

Regulations required at least 2 hours of recreation each after- 
noon, but the commander of the Columbus Barracks Depot declared 
that this was a requirement which should have been made discretion- 
ary because there were times when "enforced recreation bored men 
greatly." 11 

Experiences With Understrength Units 

Divisional maneuvers for training purposes that were held near 
San Antonio, Tex., from March until August 1911 indicated that 

9 War Department Annual Reports, 1910, 1, p. 197. 

10 War Department Annual Reports, 1911, 1, pp. 156-222. 

11 ma. 



Eegular Army units at peace strength could not be increased to war 
strength in a short time without serious loss of efficiency. 12 Orders 
issued 28 March 1911 added to the strength of the units taking part 
in the maneuvers, giving them all the recruits who had joined the 
Army between 28 March and 2 June. These additions did not bring 
the companies to full war strength, but they did show that the in- 
troduction of large numbers of recruits who had not been given basic 
instruction or who had not acquired discipline was disastrous to effi- 
ciency. (This is a striking illustration of the changing conditions 
in the nearly 50 years which had intervened since Appomattox, for 
during the Civil War commanders had requested that recruits be 
delivered to the front without any preliminary training.) 

The officers who conducted the maneuvers decided that the peace- 
time strength of regiments should be increased and that there was 
need for a trained Reserve to bring units to war strength without 
great loss of time in the event of an emergency. The attitude of the 
General Staff in 1912 in regard to the replacement problem is shown 
by the following quotation from a staff study prepared that year : 

It is the experience of modern warfare that any given unit loses at least 50 
percent of its strength in the first 6 months of war. If this loss is not re- 
placed, there is a 50 percent deterioration in the power of the unit ; a!nd if it is 
replaced by raw men, the quality of the force as a highly trained team is 
destroyed. 13 

Until 1912, recruits had been assigned to line organizations of the 
Army in the United States on the basis of vacancies shown by the 
monthly returns of those organizations or by special reports received 
from the organization commanders. On 13 April of that year, a new 
method of assignment was adopted under which recruits were fur- 
nished every 6 months on a fixed schedule. Organizations there- 
after were able to schedule two annual periods of instruction. To 
meet the special situation encountered in the Philippine Islands, un- 
assigned recruits, the number being determined by monthly reports 
from the division commander, were forwarded to the islands to keep 
units there from falling below the statutory maximum strength, a 
figure which was seldom reached by units in the United States but 
which was maintained in the Philippines. 14 

Any man who had received training in the Army was considered a 
potential military asset regardless of whether he was enrolled as a 
Reservist or not. Many officers opposed long enlistments because short 
enlistments meant more enlistments and, therefore, the presence of 
more men in civilian life who had received military training and who 
were available for the potential Reserve. In 1894, the period of en- 

12 Ibid. 

13 War Department Annual Reports, 1912, I, p. 93. 

14 Ibid., p. 462. 



listment was reduced from 5 to 3 years, 15 a move which was expected 
to make a larger number of former enlisted men available to the Re- 
serve. Maj. Gen. Nelson A. Miles, Commanding the Army, in 1895 
recommended that soldiers who had 5 years of meritorious service 
and who desired discharges be permitted to appear before boards for 
examination to determine their qualifications as second lieutenants. 
He proposed that those qualified be commissioned before their dis- 
charge and that their names be retained on record for service in case 
of an emergency. While his recommendations did not result in any 
legislation at that time, the regulations of 1901 provided for Reserve 
nurses, and orders relative to a Medical Reserve Corps appeared 
in 1911. 16 

Efforts of understrength military units to function along the Mexi- 
can Border brought increased attention to the need for a reserve. The 
best source for trained men seemed to be those who had served in the 
Army but had been discharged and returned to civilian life. Military 
authorities for several years had urged that a law be passed which 
would authorize the organization of Reserve forces among discharged 
men. After considerable debate, Congress finally passed such a law 
and established a Regular Army Reserve 1 November 1912. 17 This 
Reserve consisted of soldiers furloughed for the unexpired portion of 
their 7-year enlistments (Class A Reservists) or those men who en- 
listed after discharge from the Regular Army (Class B Reservists). 
Its lack of popularity was shown by the fact that on 30 June 1915 it 
had only 19 Class B enlisted members, a figure which had increased 
to 27 a year later. On 30 June 1916, there were 4,621 Class A 

During 1913, the Army made tests to determine whether or not regi- 
mental recruiting could be effective under conditions which existed at 
that time and which were different from the conditions in earlier 
periods when regimental recruiting had been successful. The results 
were not favorable. Eight regiments stationed in populous territory 
sent their officers and canvassing parties, well supplied with advertis- 
ing matter, into promising areas and attempted to persuade men to 
join the Army. Their combined efforts over a period of 10 months 
produced only 55 enlistments, 2 regiments obtaining no enlistments 
at all. 18 

In November 1913, special drafts of recruits who had had no previ- 
ous experience in the Army were sent to units to determine how long 
it would take for details of 20 experienced noncommissioned officers to 
make effective organizations out of raw recruits under simulated war 
conditions. 19 Sixty men were sent to Troop G, 11th Cavalry, Fort 

15 WD GO 30, 8 Aug 94. 

18 WD GO 113, 22 Aug 01 ; WD GO 78, 12 Jun 11. 

17 War Department Annual Reports, 1913,1, j>. 354. 
« IMd., p. 175. 

19 IMd., p. 176. 



Oglethorpe, Ga.; 133 to Battery F, 5th Field Artillery, Fort Sill, 
Okla. ; and 120 to Company G, 5th Infantry, Plattsburg Barracks, 
N. Y. The experience indicated that such units could be well-trained 
and ready for service within a year, which was regarded as the maxi- 
mum period necessary under any conditions. 

In 1914, the 11th Cavalry, stationed at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., started 
assigning recruits to one troop for 3 months of training before they 
were permanently assigned to regimental units. Experience soon indi- 
cated that this method of training was superior to any that had been 
tried before, 20 and would, if adopted, produce acceptable replacement 
material. Subsequently, its use became fairly widespread in other 

Induction of the National Guard and the Pershing Expedition 

Mexican border disturbances caused the United States Army to send 
two cavalry troops to southern Texas in November 1910. These units 
were augmented from time to time as United States forces patrolled 
along the entire boundary. Regular Army and National Guard troops 
were sent to the southern part of the United States for maneuvers and 
exercises designed to aid civil authorities to enforce the neutrality 
laws, protect border residents, and maintain order. 

In 1912, some 30,000 men in the mobile forces of the United States 
Army were scattered over the country in 49 separate posts, each having 
an average of about 650 men. 21 The Army was organized on a plan 
which contemplated its expansion in time of war to more than double 
its peacetime strength. Units were authorized the required number 
of officers but only skeleton strengths of enlisted men. An infantry 
company of 150 men was regarded as the proper size for combat, but 
the prescribed minimum for peacetime was 58 men and many com- 
panies were below that figure. 

Replacement problems confronted the units of the Regular Army 
even before they left their home stations. Most of these units were 
understrength to such an extent that they could not render effective 
field service. They depended upon the recruiting system then in oper- 
ation to produce the men needed, but when recruits failed to arrive 
they moved into the field with only those available. Depots were 
unable to furnish men in sufficient numbers to maintain even the peace 
strength of organizations, and the privilege of purchasing discharges 
was suspended to eliminate losses from that source. 

The experience of the 2d Division gives an example of the replace- 
ment problems that confronted the units serving along the Border. 

War Department Annual Reports, 1916, p. 302. 

Henry L. Stimson, What is the Matter with our Army. (Washington, 1912). 



This division was mobilized at Galveston and Texas City, Tex., in. 
February 1913. At the time of its arrival at the points of concentra- 
tion its strength was 648 officers and 10,937 enlisted men. 22 Approxi- 
mately 4 months later, on 30 June 1913, the division had increased its 
strength by only about 200 enlisted men. Although 940 recruits had 
joined, there had been 941 losses and the only gain was through 207 

The 5th Infantry Brigade, which took part in the overseas expedi- 
tion to Vera Cruz, was part of the 2d Division. After naval units 
had entered the harbor at Vera Cruz and landed a force of marines, 
the brigade, accompanied by one company of engineers and a field 
hospital, sailed on 24 April 1914 from Galveston, Tex., under the com- 
mand of Brig. Gen. Frederick Funston. This force disembarked at 
Vera Cruz on 28 April, and the command of the 1st Marine Brigade, 
a unit which was already ashore, passed to General Funston on 30 
April. Additional artillery, cavalry, and signal units arrived soon 
thereafter, and on 30 June 1914 the combined strength of the United 
States forces in Vera Cruz totaled 358 officers and 6,878 enlisted men. 
By 30 June 1914, the strength of the 2d Division, plus those units 
which had been attached to the 5th Brigade for the movement to Vera 
Cruz, was less than 12,000 enlisted men. The force at Vera Cruz 
withdrew on 23 November 1914 and returned to Galveston and Texas 

The 6th Brigiade, also a part of the 2d Division, was sent to rein- 
force the troops in the Southern Department on 15 December 1914, 
and upon its relief from that mission on 3 February 1915 it was dis- 
patched to Douglas, Ariz. During September and October of 1915, 
regiments remaining in the 2d Division were transferred to the South- 
ern Department for duty. 

On 15 March 1916, after Mexican insurrectionists had raided Co- 
lumbus, N. M., Brig. Gen. John J. Pershing entered Mexico in pursuit 
of the bandit Villa. His force, averaging about 10,000 men, remained 
in Mexico until 5 February 1917. At the same time, in response to 
a call by the President on 9 May 1916, elements of the organized 
Militia from Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas assembled at Douglas, 
Columbus, and San Antonio respectively, and efforts were made to 
obtain enough recruits to bring the organizations to war strength. On 
3 June 1916, Fort Sam Houston was designated as a recruit rendez- 
vous for these units, and a general call for the Militia of the other 
states was issued 18 June 1916. 

The National Defense Act of 3 June 1916 provided for the transi- 
tion of the organized Militia into the National Guard and the subse- 

22 War Department Annual Reports, 1913, III, p. 116. 



quent induction of units into the service of the United States upon 
their arrival at mobilization points. It soon became apparent that 
there was not time enough to recruit the National Guard units to full 
strength. Consequently, they were sent to the Border as soon as 
mustering officers reported the companies or regiments reasonably 
equipped for field service. 

National Guard companies, averaging about 40 men at the time of 
the President's call on 18 June 1916, were recruited to minimum re- 
quired strength by the hasty and ill-considered enlistment of all per- 
sons who were available. In one community it was reported that 36 
inmates were released from a reformatory so they could join the 
National Guard. 23 Some National Guard units had on their rolls 
men referred to as a "accommodation signers,' 5 local residents who 
had joined to fill the quota upon condition that commanding officers 
excuse them from all duty. Most of these refused to muster. Recruits 
obtained in hurried drives frequently were underage, below physical 
requirements, or of undesirable character. Final physical examina- 
tions, given after organizations were mustered, resulted in many dis- 
charges, the men rejected being returned to their homes at heavy 
expense to the Government. Losses immediately after muster caused 
many units to remain in camp for long periods before they could take 
the field. Untrained recruits made up fully one-third of most National 
Guard units arriving in the Southern Department. 

On 19 May 1916, the commanding general of the Texas National 
Guard brigade requested authority to send recruiting parties to home 
stations to recruit his organization to war strength. 24 The War De- 
partment could not reply to this request until it had decided whether 
to use State or Federal agencies, a matter then under discussion. An 
opinion by the Judge Advocate General said Federal agencies should 
not be used independent of State action until after it became apparent 
the States were unable to keep the ranks full, a deficiency which was 
obvious soon after units were mustered. The prospect of two sets of 
recruiting officers, one maintained by the Federal Government and 
the other by the States, was considered undesirable. The terms of 
enlistment, 3 or 4 years plus a period in the Reserve for the Regular 
Army and for varying periods in the States, needed to be standard- 
ized. The Adjutant General's Office, responsible for Regular Army 
recruiting, was prepared to recruit for the National Guard and, before 
publication of the Judge Advocate General's opinion, had assumed 
that it would do so. 

23 Ltr, CG Hq Eastern Dept, to AGO, 6 Dec 16, sub : Data relative to the Militia and Na- 
tional Guard called into the service of the United States. AG 325.45 Info, AG 2457329, 
National Archives. 

24 Telg, 1448, Funston to AGO, with accompanying papers, 19 May 16. AG 2396936, 
National Archives, 



On 26 May 1916, Secretary of War Newton D. Baker, consider- 
ing that most State administrative officers were otherwise employed 
and that State agencies for recruiting would have to be organized 
anew, directed that Federal recruiting agencies be utilized in re- 
cruiting for National Guard troops in the service of the United 
States. 25 The next day, the commanding general of the Southern 
Department at Fort Sam Houston, Tex., was directed to detail such 
officers and enlisted men from the Texas National Guard mustered 
into the service of the United States as were necessary to recruit the 
units to full strength. Similar instructions were sent to the other 

Recruiting parties, generally consisting of a commissioned officer, 
a sergeant, a corporal, and a private, were stationed in the larger 
cities and visited outlying areas. The enthusiasm for National 
Guard service diminished when it appeared that regiments might 
perform monotonous patrols along the Border rather than go into 
Mexico for more exciting service. Recruiting efforts never were 
productive. The mustering officer in the State of Washington re- 
ported recruiting was almost impossible after the organizations left 
the State. In 3 months, 4 officers obtained only about 30 men. 26 Re- 
ports from the Central Department also showed negligible results. 27 

The War Department decided to discontinue the National Guard 
recruiting service and on 4 October 1916 notified commanding 
generals of the departments to return officers and men of the re- 
cruiting parties to their former organizations as soon as it was ap- 
parent that their efforts were not productive. 28 Efforts to recruit 
for the National Guard, even under Federal control, encountered the 
same difficulties that had defeated regimental recruiting for the 
Regular Army. Recruiting officers were out of touch with home 
communities, and distant service lacked appeal. The failure of the 
National Guard recruiting service left the General Recruiting Ser- 
vice as the only source of replacements for military units in Federal 

After the return of the Pershing expedition, many National Guard 
units were sent home and mustered out, only to be called again with- 
in a few months for World War I. Other National Guard units re- 
mained in continuous service until after World War I. 

25 Ltr, Secretary of War to Hon James E. Ferguson, Gov. of Texas, 26 May 16. AG 
2396936. National Archives. 

28 Ltr, H. D. Coburn to AGO, 1 Nov 16, sub : Data relative to Militia and National Guard 
of the State of Washington called into the service of the United States. AG 2457329. Na- 
tional Archives. 

27 Ltr, CO, Recruit Depot, Fort Crook, Nebr., to CG Central Dept, 20 Sep 16, sub : Re- 
cruiting. AG 2396936. National Archives. 

28 Ltr, AGO to CGs of Departments, 4 Oct 16, sub : Recruiting, National Guard. AG 
2396936. National Archives. 

346225 O - 55 - 12 



The National Defense Act of 3 June 1 936 and Its Relation to the 

Replacement System 

The provisions for military education contained in the act of 3 
June 1916 had an important bearing on the replacement system as 
well as on other phases of military activities. Military education 
for students had received attention before 1916, but the National De- 
fense Act gave it greater impetus. In 1913, Ma]. Gen. Leonard 
Wood, then Chief of Staff, held students' military instruction camps 
at Monterey, Calif., and Gettysburg, Pa. About 90 colleges and high 
schools Were represented, 29 and those students who attended received 
training in military maneuvers, tactics, care of troops, camp sanita- 
tion, and rifle practice. They paid for their own transportation, sub- 
sistence, and clothing, the latter two items amounting to an average 
of $15. Similar camps were held in 1914 and 1915. 

The first businessmen's camps were held at Plattsburg, N. Y., in 
1915. They followed the college student's camps, with the Regular 
Army personnel remaining to give instruction and using the same 
equipment. In 1916, camps were held in Plattsburg N. Y. ; Ogle- 
thorpe, Ga.; Fort Terry, N. Y. ; Fort Wadsworth, N. Y., the Presidio 
of San Francisco; American Lake, Wash.; and San Antonio, Tex. 
The scope of these 1916 camps was enlarged, and the attendance 
amounted to about 12,000 persons, many of whom became World 
War I officers. Congress appropriated money for transportation 
and subsistence for those attending, thus giving the camps official rec- 
ognition which they had lacked before. This plan of training be- 
came generally known as the "Plattsburg plan." 

On a lower level was the "Wyoming plan" which Capt. E. Z. 
Steever introduced in the high schools of Wyoming. Students vol- 
unteered for this training, which was designed to teach the obliga- 
tions of citizenship without arousing opposition from those who 
feared the development of a militaristic attitude. 30 High school 
boys were instructed in military, moral, civic business, and educa- 
tional fields, with emphasis on physical development and sports 
activities, 31 

Under the program of military instruction conducted in the land- 
grant colleges, the professors of military science and tactics reported 
to The Adjutant General the names of graduates who had shown 
special aptitude in military science. 32 Graduates so reported were 
encouraged to take examinations for commissions in the Volunteer 

29 War Department Annual Reports, 19 IS, I, p. 19. 

30 War Department Annual Reports, 1916, I, pp. 48, 172. 

31 For a more detailed discussion of the "Wyoming plan" see Kreidberg and Henry, 
op. cit., ch. VII. 

32 WD GO 70, 18 Nov 13. 



forces. As a special inducement they could be excused from taking 
examinations in those studies which they had covered in their college 

The Act of S June 1916 also established the Eeserve Officers Train- 
ing Corps, which was divided into senior and junior divisions. 33 
Graduates who completed courses in military science and tactics could 
be commissioned second lieutenants in the Organized Eeserve Corps 
and temporary second lieutenants in the Eegular Army. In their 
capacity as temporary second lieutenants they could be assigned to 
Eegular Army units for 6 months' additional training with pay of 
$100 per month. Second lieutenants other than West Point graduates 
received provisional appointments in the Eegular Army for 2 years. 
Permanent appointments were given to those who demonstrated their 
fitness during the 2 years of trial service. By 30 June 1917, 21,543 
commissions had been issued in the Officers Eeserve Corps. 

Summary of the Period of Operations Along the Mexican Border 

Military authorities did not recognize the replacement system in 
operation during the Mexican border period as anything different 
from the recruiting system. Eecruiting officers operated the recruit- 
ing stations distributed throughout the country, and officers detailed 
to recruiting duty were in charge of the depots where men received 
their final physical examinations and where they were given some 
preliminary training. Every 6 months a Eegular Army unit was 
supposed to receive the number of recruits that reports showed were 
needed to bring that unit to authorized peace strength. The unit gave 
these men training at such time as its commander saw fit, but the 
system had been worked out with the idea that all units would con- 
duct recruit instruction twice a year. 

Many of the problems confronting the replacement organizations 
during World War I and World War II had already appeared. Mili- 
tary units called into Federal service were understrength and needed 
filler replacements. After a short period in the service, losses started, 
principally from expiration of terms of service, desertions, or illness, 
and as soon as unit strength started to drop loss replacements were 
needed. Unit commanders frequently complained of the quality of 
the men they received, and it was recognized that the depot should 
determine the quality and value of a man before he was sent to an 

Immediately before World War I, recruit depots were giving up 
to 3 months of instruction to recruits. Normally, an officer was in 
charge of each group of recruits forwarded to a regiment or other 
organization. Upon arrival of the party at its destination this officer 

w WD GO 32, 28 Jul 16 ; WD GO 49, 20 Sep 16 ; WD SR 43, 29 Mar 17. 



forwarded a report to The Adjutant General of the Army. He also 
delivered the assignment cards and other records pertaining to the 
men in the group to the commanding officer of the organization which 
they were to join. 

There was a growing appreciation of the need for examination, 
classification, training, and proper assignment of recruits. Officers 
serving at the recruit depots had some understanding of the physical 
requirements for camps, buildings, and training facilities which would 
be necessary in the event that a large number of men were taken into 
the Army. Voluntary enlistments had failed to bring either the 
Regular Army or the National Guard to their authorized strength, 
and the Army learned that military operations with understrength 
units were inefficient. The nucleus of a replacement system existed 
in the recruit depots during the Mexican border operations, but with 
no heavy combat losses to replace, no full-scale replacement system 
was developed. 



Allied Proposals for Integration 

In April 1917, the Allied armies fighting in Europe needed per- 
sonnel replacements. The first military missions to the United States 
pleaded for men to be sent at once, saying that German troops were 
sweeping forward, that some French units had mutinied, and that 
Allied manpower reservoirs were about exhausted. The envoys hoped 
the early arrival of American soldiers would bolster Allied morale, 
then at a low point. The Europeans said that even green, untrained 
men would be better than none, for they could be integrated into 
veteran units already in the line. Marshal Joffre urged that the 
American Army adopt the "Plan de Xivelle'' which was described by 
Maj. Gen. James G. Harbord as follows : 

Thousands of laborers, railroad and otherwise, carpenters, miners, chauf- 
feurs, foresters, etc. but no fighting troops; such combat traops as might be 
sent for moral effect or to save our national face, should come as recruits 
to be fed into depleted Allied battalions, losing their identity as far as Ameri- 
can control and leadership was concerned. 1 

The Allied High Command had little confidence in the ability of 
the United States to organize, equip, and transport to Europe an inde- 
pendent American Army soon enough to stop the Germans. 2 Allied 
officers and members of the military missions in the United States 
made frequent suggestions that, if outright replacements were not 
provided, small units of American troops should be either associated 
with or integrated into the British and French Armies. These ap- 
peals, at times almost demands, continued on both sides of the ocean 
until the tide of war turned against the Germans. 

The Allied arguments did not go unheeded. Some prominent 
Americans supported the plan for quick integration : Admiral William 
S. Sims, Herbert Hoover, and Ambassador Walter Page, all of whom 
had had considerable experience in the w T ar area, believed at the 
beginning of the war that the most effective way to get American 

x Maj. Gen. Jolm G. Harbord, The American Expeditionary Forces, Its Origin and 
Accomplishments (Evan stem, 1929), p. 17. 

2 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, 1, p. 10. 




troops into action at once was to send them to French or British regi- 
ments as replacements. 3 General Pershing was firm in his opposition : 
"I was decidedly against becoming a recruiting agency for the British 
or the French." 4 General Pershing's instructions regarding policy 
were announced by Maj. Gen. Francis J. Kernan, Assistant to the Chief 
of Staff, and were approved by the Secretary of War 26 May 1917. 5 
The AEF commander admitted however that "the possibility of our 
being able to send a completely trained army within a reasonable time, 
even though there had been sufficient shipping, was remote because of 
our woeful state of unpreparedness. We had no such Army and 
could not have one for several months to come." 6 

The Allies did not have a unified plan for the integration of Ameri- 
can forces into their own, a fact which weakened their plea. 7 The 
first desire of the missions to America was for loans, the second for 
men; and both the British and French agreed that their experience 
on the field of battle qualified them to command the Americans. Be- 
yond that they did not agree. The British were for British control 
of the anticipated replacements from America, while the French were 
for French control. Confronted by these demands, American officials 
were forced to decide whether the American Army would fight as a 
unit or whether American military forces would become one vast re- 
placement depot for the British and the French. 

The solution was a compromise in which Americans did serve with 
the armies of the Allies, but the United States did not give up its 
military organization ; small American units served as parts of British 
and French divisions. President Woodrow Wilson's instructions to 
General Pershing at the time of the latter's departure for France were 
to keep American forces intact, and neither the President, the Secre- 
tary of War, the Chief of Staff, nor the Commander in Chief in 
Europe deviated from this purpose. 5 

By 20 October 1917, American battalions of the 1st Division, under 
the command of their own officers, had been attached for training pur- 
poses to French regiments in the Luneville sector. 9 By 31 December 
1917, there were 176,655 American troops in France, but no American 
troops other than those of the 1st Division had been in combat, a delay 
which was displeasing to the British and French. Prime Minister 

'Josephus Daniels, The "Wilson Era, Years of War and After, 19X7-2$ (Chaptel Hill, 
1946), p. 319. 

4 Gen. John J. Pershing, My Experiences in the World War (New York, 1921) , I, p. 31. 

5 Gen. Peyton C. March, The Nation at War (Garden City, 1932), p. 244. 

6 Pershing, op. cit., p. 75. 

1 Benedict Crowell and Robert Forrest Wilson, The Road to France ("How America 
Went to War," Book I [New Haven, 1921]), p. 16; Frederick Palmer, Bliss Peacemaker 
(New York, 1934), p. 147. 

8 Sir Frederick Maurice, Lessons of Allied Cooperation; Naval, Military and Air, 191k- 
1918 (London, 1942), pp. 116-119. 

9 Reports of Commander in Chief, AEF, Staff Sections and Services in U, S. ARMY IN 
THE WORLD WAR, 1917-19, XIV (Washington, 1948), p. 11. 



Lloyd George cautioned the President that American aid might come 
too late unless American units were incorporated into Allied forma- 
tions. President Wilson and Secretary of War Newton D. Baker left 
the decision to General Pershing, who agreed that available transpor- 
tation should be used to move to France the fighting units of six 
infantry divisions, leaving the shipment of service troops and admin- 
istrative units until a later date. However, General Pershing refused 
the British request for an American battalion for each British infantry 
Brigade. He recognized that a situation might arise which would 
require all American troops to enter Allied units, but such a course was 
regarded as a last and desperate resort. The President and Secretary 
Baker authorized General Pershing to amalgamate units as small as 
companies with the British and French in the event that he considered 
it necessary. The War Department gave full approval to General 
Pershing's actions during the German spring drive when, on 28 March 
1918, he made the entire American force available to the Allied com- 
mander for such use as he considered necessary. 

The Political Factors 

Political questions, both at home and abroad, affected the personnel 
replacement system. Some officials in the United States feared that 
large installations devoted to the avowed purpose of replacing casu- 
alties would arouse public apprehension, a fear which probably delayed 
the establishment of the replacement training centers. Secretary 
Baker discussed this aspect of the replacement situation in an address 
at the Army War College in 1927 : 

I think the first mistake was the failure on the part of the War Depart- 
ment to organize replacement troops in the United States. ... It would 
have been very much better if we could frankly have had two or three hundred 
thousand men in camps with the foreknowledge that they were to be sent 
wherever they were needed. . . . We had no idea about the effect of such 
an effort on our general public opinion. . . . Suppose the newspapers had 
said "Evidently the Army is preparing for tremendous losses, here are three 
hundred thousand men being prepared to take the places of those who will 
be killed or wounded." Now, we didn't know whether the public opinion would 
stand that or not. We had to weigh the probable reaction of public opinion, 
and we, perfectly conscious of what it would have been wise to do, nevertheless 
refrained from doing the thing we thought wise, because as we undertook to 
guess what the reaction of public opinion would be, we felt it was dangerous 
to do the wise thing. 10 

The General Staff had little in the way of prior experience to use 
as a guide in its estimates of the number of replacements which would 
be required for an operation of the magnitude of World War I. In all 
American history there had been no military officers who had been 

10 Newton D. Baker, Lecture, The Political Factor in War, before the Army War College, 
22 Apr 27 OS). National War College Library, 325-37-54, pp. 5-6. 



called upon to make plans for a project which required moving 100,000 
or more men per month across the Atlantic to Europe. 11 

Many responsible officers in Washington considered that only a 
small expeditionary force could be sent overseas. There were some 
who did not believe that the United States could supply a large land 
army abroad. Others contended for a large air force, although there 
were in the country only 35 pilots trained to fly combat planes and the 
facilities for manufacturing aircraft were few. Since the shipping 
situation was complicated by heavy losses to enemy submarines, there 
was a danger that the greater part of the tonnage available would be 
needed for food and supplies with little left for troops. 12 

The General Staff's Replacement Plan 

Most of the operations involved in the replacement system were 
under the administration of The Adjutant General, who had been 
responsible for peacetime recruiting, had organized and directed the 
recruit depots, and had exercised a major responsibility in regard to 
the assignment of personnel. During World War I, certain of The 
Adjutant General's responsibilities in regard to personnel were shifted 
to the War Department General Staff and later returned to The Adju- 
tant General at the close of the war. 

The General Staff's first task was to form an army large enough 
for combat. This it did under the National Defense Act of 1916, which 
provided that the Regular Army could be increased to 20 divisions, 
numbered 1 to 20 ; that the 17 National Guard divisions, numbered 26 
to 42, could be brought to effective strength and called to Federal serv- 
ice; and that additional divisions, numbered from 76 upward, could 
be raised in the National Army. The calling of fillers for these units 
held first priority in General Staff thinking ; the matter of loss replace- 
ments was regarded as secondary. 

Of the 4-1 officers who were members of the General Staff in April 
of 1917, 19 were assigned to Washington. Nine of these were required 
for administrative work, leaving only 10 to plan for future opera- 
tions. 13 On 12 May 1917, Congress removed thelimitations on the size 
of the General Staff. This action was followed 6 days later by a reor- 
ganization of the War Department. 14 

Many of the officers most familiar with War Department staff work 
obtained commands in the field, and the jobs they left were filled by 
others whose lack of experience made it difficult for them to keep up 
with the fast-moving events. 15 The work of the War Department Gen- 

11 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, 1, p. 254. 

12 Harbord, op. cit., p. 10. 

13 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, 1, pt. 1, p. 248. 
^Ibid., p. 292. 

16 Statement, Maj. Gen. Charles H. White (Ret). HIS 330.14. 



eral Staff was made more complex by what was referred to as constant 
"changes of signals*' from the AEF. The War Department plan 
underwent many revisions because of changes in reports from overseas. 
After the appointment of Maj. Gen. Peyton C. March as Chief of Staff 
there was more stability in staff operations, although the desires of the 
AEF still produced innumerable problems. 16 Officers who later looked 
back on that period believed that the efforts of the General Staff at that 
time entitled its members to more credit than could be obtained by a 
mere reading of the record. 

The War College Division of the General Staff made the studies 
required for the mobilization, organization, instruction, training, and 
movement of troops. Since the small number of men who were as- 
signed to this General Staff division had been fully employed with 
studies dealing with operations along the Mexican Border, the begin- 
ning of World War I made it necessary for them to shift their efforts 
quickly to the situation in Europe. In the War College Division, the 
Operations and Equipment committees were combined into a new Op- 
erations Division in an effort to form a planning group which would 
deal with recruiting, the draft, the movement of troops, the appoint- 
ment, promotion, and detail of officers and enlisted men, and other 
personnel matters. 17 

On 9 February 1918, the General Staff was again reorganized. 18 
Its responsibility was now divided among five main divisions includ- 
ing the Executive, the War Plans, the Purchase and Supply, the Stor- 
age and Traffic, and the Operations Divisions. A major portion of 
the planning for the replacement system fell upon the Operations 
Division, which after 9 February 1918 was responsible for : 

( 1 ) The organization of tactical divisions ; 

(2) Preparation of shipment schedules ; 

(3 ) Recruitment and mobilization of the Army ; 

(4) Appointment, promotion, and transfer of officers ; 

(5) Location of camps and cantonments ; 

(6) Distribution of equipment and supplies ; 

(7) Design, reception, storage, and maintenance of motor vehi- 
cles. 19 

The presence in the training camps and other portions of the Army 
of a large number of men who spoke little or no English created prob- 
lems which led to the establishment of the Military Morale Section 
within the Intelligence Division. On 27 June 1918, the duties of this 
subsection were extended to include the stimulation of morale gen- 
erally throughout the Army and on 18 August 1918 it became the 

36 Statement, Brig, Gen. G. R. Allin (Ret). HIS 330.14. 

17 War Department Annual Reports, 1918, 1, p. 150. 

18 WD GO 141, 9 Feb 18. 

19 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, 1, p* 255. 



Military Morale Branch of the General Staff. Experiments in the 
training of foreign-speaking soldiers were carried on at Camp Gor- 
don, Ga. 20 The development of the Military Morale Branch and the 
work which it supervised within the Army influenced policies for the 
handling of replacements. 

Competition among bureaus for commissioned officers developed 
problems that led to the establishment of the Personnel Branch of the 
Operations Division on 18 September 1918. 21 Thereafter personnel 
activities were coordinated and administered in consideration of the 
service as a whole. Under the earlier system the most aggressive arms 
were taking the best men and in many instances not using them 
efficiently. There were many square pegs in round holes. Because 
branch and bureau chiefs had enjoyed added power by means of their 
control over officer personnel, many of them opposed the new organiza- 
tion. It was well toward the end of the war before the General Staff 
established a separate division to regulate the assignment and replace- 
ment of officers, a division that many believed should have been or- 
ganized long before. 22 

Transition From the Territorial System 

Staff officers encountered difficulties in devising a replacement sys- 
tem which would function equally well for the Eegular Army, the 
National Guard, and the National Army. The Regular Army was 
composed of men who enlisted for fixed terms without regard to the 
duration of the war. The National Guard was taken into Federal 
service and thereafter many of its men were secured by the draft, but 
its local origins had given it the traditions of State organizations. 
Many members of the National Army were selected by draft for the 
duration of the war, and, later in the war, men were assigned to 
these divisions without reference to the State or locality from which 
they were drawn. 23 

The United States Army absorbed the National Guard, except for 
a few units that failed to qualify, at a time when many States were 
using their troops for police or security purposes. 24 The States 
needed some military forces for home services, but the draft made 
it difficult to maintain such guard units as were authorized by the 
Act of 3 June 1916. State requirements were met through the organ- 
ization of State troops or home guards, and Congress in the Act of 
14 June 1917 had provided that all State units could receive certain 
equipment. These State guard troops were under the supervision 

20 IUd., p. 338. 

21 WD GO 86, 18 Sep 18. 

22 Statement, Maj. Gen. Percy Poe Bishop (Ret). HIS 330.14. 
28 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, 1, p. 55. 

2 * Ibid., p. 3957. 



of United States Army department commanders, who followed poli- 
cies established by the Militia Bureau of the War Department. Offi- 
cers generally had had prior military experience but were overage 
or physically disqualified for overseas duty. Enlisted men included 
volunteers outside of draft ages and drafted men physically dis- 
qualified for other military duty. The contribution of the State guard 
units released able-bodied men for military duty, thereby providing 
the Army with additional replacements. 

Strong local tradition in National Guard units early became a 
problem in the organization of the Army and the replacement sys- 
tem. Many officers considered it desirable to maintain the local char- 
acter of units, but requirements for specialists, some of whom could 
not be obtained in sufficient numbers from certain parts of the coun- 
try, interposed difficulties. For example, men with mechanical skills 
predominated in manufacturing regions and were scarce in agri- 
cultural areas. Another difficulty was that some units might suffer 
higher casualties than others in combat, and there was danger of 
placing too heavy a burden on one community should an organization 
made up of men from that community be hard hit. It also became 
evident that retention of the local character of organizations would 
be extremely difficult because replacements could not be held until 
there was a call from their home units. 

Early in the war, a military mission headed by Col. Chauncey D. 
Baker went to France to investigate organization problems. Its 
report (known as the Baker Board report) opposed a territorial 
replacement and stated: 

In the event of serious casualties to our Army in France, some divisions 
are certain to suffer very much heavier losses than others. To draw reen- 
forcements for these divisions from the corresponding home divisional areas 
will result in the losses being distributed unequally throughout the country, 
as has been the case with both the British and the French. Should a terri- 
torial system of replacement be adopted, we should probably within a short 
time, abandon such a system and adopt the depot system as has been done 
by our Allies. 25 

The mission recommended provisional units not larger than battal- 
ions for recruits in the United States and suggested that these units 
give general and specialist training which would be continued after 
the recruits arrived at similar camps in France. 

The early military policy was to form National Army divisions 
from troops in the vicinity of cantonments, but this was modified by 
the racial problem which led to an attempt to give each Army divi- 
sion a small percentage of Negro troops. This proposal required the 
transfer of large numbers of Negroes to regiments formed in the 

as Organization of the American Expeditionary Forces in U. S. ARMY IN THE WORLD 
WAR, 1917-19, I (Washington, 1948), pp. 88-89. 



North and the subsequent transfer of white troops to the South to 
replace the Negroes. Other Negroes were assigned to the two all- 
colored divisions, the 92d and 93d, and National Army cantonments 
formed regiments of Negro troops when sufficient men of that race 
were available within the cantonments. 26 Negroes were assigned 
only to units for colored men, but these were frequently commanded 
by white officers. In addition, 24 Negro labor companies were 
organized. 27 The shortage of port labor in France caused the for- 
mation of a civilian transport workers' battalion which accom- 
panied the first convoy- Within 5 days, the 500 Negroes who made 
up these units were gathered from the ports between Baltimore and 
New Orleans and placed under contract for a year's service. The 
men for subsequent units were enlisted, and the formation of these 
later units took much longer than 5 days. 28 

Territorial recruiting continued until August 1918, 29 with the re- 
cruits going to depot brigades in each of the 16 districts. Instead 
of a successive series of fresh regiments with new officers, a few or- 
ganizations were formed at the start, and thereafter depot brigades 
furnished large numbers of men to fill gaps wherever they were 
needed anywhere in the Army. State and sectional lines tended to 
disappear within the military establishment. 30 

Recruit Depots and Army Cantonments 

The replacement system was a part of the recruiting service, and 
as such it had proved, satisfactory for a peacetime volunteer Army 
but had shown many weaknesses when the Army was called upon to 
patrol the Mexican Border. 

During the summer of 19 17, the work at the Columbus Barracks 
Recruiting Depot, Ohio, became so extensive that Fort Thomas, Ky., 
was made an auxiliary depot. On 7 August 1917, the latter was des- 
ignated a permanent depot and provided with an independent gar- 
rison. 31 The 4 recruit depots and the 10 recruit depot posts then in 
operation were receiving men from the recruiting stations, examin- 
ing and enlisting them, giving them preliminary training, and assign- 
ing them to Regular Army units on a schedule whereby each unit re- 
ceived new men every 6 months. 

Drafted men received final physical examinations and inocula- 
tions to prevent smallpox and typhoid fever, and underwent a brief 
quarantine upon their arrival at the cantonments, 'Their first 

26 WD GO 109, 16 Aug 17. 

27 WD GO 125, 22 Sep 17. * 

28 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, 1, pt. 4, p. 4988. 

20 Second Report of the Provost Marshal General to the Secretary of War (Washington, 
1919), p. 223. 

50 Robert G. Albion, Introduction to Military History (New York, 1929), pp. 179-180. 
31 WD GO 104, 7 Aug 17, par. III. 



assignment was to the camp depot brigade to learn the manual of 
arms and other features of infantry drill. 

The depot brigades in existence at the beginning of the war were 
capable of handling recruits and drafted men for the 20 contem- 
plated Kegular Army divisions, but they did not have the capacity 
to take care of the additional men needed for the National Guard and 
National Army divisions. The first draft levy, which was to bring 
the strength of the Armed Forces to 1,000,000 men, called for the 
induction of nearly 700,000. The number who could be called was 
limited by housing, clothing, and other supplies. Regular Army 
units occupying stations along the Mexican Border were moved to 
camps in the East and South late in the spring of 1917. Upon ar- 
rival at their new stations these units received men from the recruit 
depots and started to build up their ranks under the new Army or- 

National Guard units on the Mexican Border had trained about 
110,000 men who, although many of them had returned to civilian 
life, again were called to duty and became the cadres for the new 
organizations that assembled in camps and armories during the sum- 
mer of 1917. These National Guard units also received about 200,000 
recruits through enlistments. 

Since most National Guard divisions did not have adequate training 
facilities at their home stations, it was decided to construct temporary 
camps at which they could be built up to strength and could carry out 
their trairiing programs. The 16 National Guard camps were : McClel- 
lan, Ala. ; Kearny, Calif. ; Cody, N. M. ; Fremont, Calif. ; Greene, N. C. ; 
Hancock, Ga.; MacArthur, Tex.; Wadsworth, S. C. ; Wheeler, Ga.; 
Logan, Tex. ; Sevier, S. C ; Sheridan, Ala. ; Doniphan, Okla. ; Beaure- 
gard, La. ; Shelby, Miss. ; and Bowie, Tex. When the National Guard 
camps were completed, tent housing was available for 684,000 men 
but there were few permanent buildings. At the time of the armistice 
a project had been started to erect permanent buildings at a number 
of the National Guard camps in order to increase training facilities, 
but this project was abandoned. 

The number of National Guard divisions that could be called into 
Federal service was limited, but the number of National Army divi- 
sions which could be formed depended only on the rate of mobilization, 
the number of men available from selective service, and the length of 
the war. Permanent National Army cantonments were constructed 
in which the National Army divisions were organized and their train- 
ing was completed. They were then moved out and replaced by new 
divisions. The National Army cantonments were authorized in May 
1917, and construction was carried on at the same time that the Na- 
tional Guard tent camps were being established. The National Army 
cantonments were of a more permanent nature and, unlike the Na- 



tional Guard camps, were taken over by new units as soon as the old 
units departed. 32 

National Army cantonments were : Lewis, Wash. ; Funston, Kans. ; 
Custer, Mich.; Devens, Mass.; Dix, N. J.; Dodge, Iowa; Gordon, Ga.; 
Grant, 111. ; Jackson, S. C. ; Lee, Va. ; Meade, Md. ; Pike, Ark. ; Sher- 
man, Ohio; Travis, Tex.; Taylor, Ky.; and Upton, N. Y. 33 Each of 
the cantonments accommodated a division, but since a division con- 
tained only about 28,000 men and the capacity of each cantonment 
was 40,000 or more, there was room for camp-maintenance troops, 
newly drafted men, and regiments of auxiliary troops or replacement 

The National Army cantonments were responsible for: (1) receiv- 
ing all drafted men; (2) equipping, examining, and classifying all 
men received; (3) selecting and training specialists from the drafted 
men for the various organizations of the Army; (4) providing special 
treatment for drafted men unfit for combat but not eligible for dis- 
charge; (5) creating and maintaining the National Army divisions; 
(6) filling Regular Army and National Guard divisions to authorized 
strength; (7) organizing units or supplying selected personriel for 
corps and army troops, service of supply troops, and the various staffs 
and departments ; and (8) training and forwarding replacement troops 
for all of these forces. 34 

All Regular Army and National Guard divisions were understrength 
and had to be built up with conscripted men. As the number of men 
called through the draft increased, it became necessary for the Army 
to organize additional centers where these men could be received. 
Depot brigades were established in each of the 16 National Army divi- 
sional cantonments, 35 first within the tactical divisions but later under 
camp or cantonment commanders. 36 The 12 National Guard depot 
brigades existed as separate units for brief periods but subsequently 
were absorbed by the divisions. Depot brigade units included train- 
ing and development battalions or groups. Regular Army divisions 
did not form depot brigades but continued to receive men from recruit 

In an effort to prevent disorder on trains the Army discontinued its 
earlier practice of waiting until the drafted men reached a cantonment 
before taking them into the service. Local draft boards placed arm 
bands or brassards, which technically constituted uniforms, on the 
men's arms so that they came under military control from the time 
they started on their journeys from their homes. 37 

32 Crowell and Wilson, op. cit., p. 37. 

33 WD GO 95, 18 Jul 17. 

3* War Department Annual Reports, 1919, I, p. 259. 
85 WD GO 109, 16 Aug 17. 

36 Order of Battle of the U. 8. Land Forces in the World War (1917-19): Zone of the 
Interior (Washington, 1919), p. 1277. 

37 Crowell and Wilson, op. oit./p, 63. 



The first requirements of the Army in general were for facilities 
to accept the men from the draft, to outfit them, and to assign them 
to units. The recruit depots and depot posts could take care of a 
certain number of these men in much the same manner as they had 
taken care of recruits in peacetime. The extension of the recruit 
depot system appeared to be the obvious solution to the replacement 
problem that existed early in 1917. The additional depots were 
intended to train that portion of the draft to be used as loss 

General Staff planners expected that 15,000 or 20,000 men would 
accumulate in the depot brigades and form a reservoir from which 
replacements could be drawn. This did not happen during the early 
part of the war because recruits and draftees were going directly to 
the divisions and to other units which were then being formed. When 
the frequent calls for men with special skills could not be met, be- 
cause the depots were empty, specialists; were assigned directly to 
units. Divisions given early overseas sailing dates could not wait for 
men to arrive in the empty depot brigades ; it was therefore necessary 
to transfer men out of divisions which had later sailing dates, a prac- 
tice that caused many complaints. Some division commanders were 
accused of using these transfers as a means of getting rid of men they 
did not want. 38 

The First Replacement Training Camps 

The War Department had expected to train all loss replacements m 
the depot brigades at the National Army cantonments but it soon de- 
veloped that these 16 camps were not adequate. Draft boards there- 
fore sent many men directly to combat organizations. The depot 
brigades failed to provide the reservoir of manpower to fill vacancies. 
Since there had been no adequate provision for receiving the drafted 
men upon their arrival at the cantonments, the depot brigades were 
forced to assume this responsibility, an emergency duty which finally 
overshadowed what had originally been regarded as their main pur- 
pose — the training and assignment of replacements. 39 

Most of the men called during 1917 went into the divisions then be- 
ing organized. Few were left over to build up a replacement pool. 
Brig. Gen. Fox Conner, G-3 on General Pershing's staff, voiced the 
opinions of many responsible officers when he declared that a "prin- 
cipal replacement trouble was that all of the first 500,000 drafted men 
were organized into divisions, and a division is a very small part of 
a war." 40 

38 WD AGO, The Personnel System of the U. S. Army (Washington, 1919), I, p. 87. 

39 War Department Annual Reports, Id Id, I, p. 259. 

40 Brig. Gen. Fox Conner, Lecture before the General Staff College, 4 Feb 21. AWC 
Library, 184-222. 



The depot brigade officials during the winter of 1917-18 were re- 
quired to evolve a highly specialized receiving system to take care of 
the large number of men coming into the divisions. The development 
of this receiving system was one of the most important features of 
the mobilization process. Efficient distribution of recruits was im- 
portant not only in the creation of new units, but also in the reorgan- 
ization of old units, which was an important factor in the mobilization. 

The shortage of replacements which developed made it necessary 
to break up some of the divisions overseas and assign the men thus 
made surplus to other divisions. Brig. Gen. W. P. Richardson, com- 
mander of the north Russian expedition, in commenting on his expe- 
rience with the 39th Division, criticized this practice. He said : 

To my mind this system of replacements was a great mistake and one of 
the most unjust things of the war. It would have been better, in my judg- 
ment, to have had fewer divisions and to have trained the replacements in 
large central training camps instead of organizing these replacements into 
divisions and creating in their minds a division spirit and pride and then 
later scattering them for assignment, to go forth to battle under strange offi- 
cers and in divisions with which they had had no previous affiliation. 41 

All arms of the service took men away from new units to fill up old 
units, a practice which lowered the morale of the new units and dis- 
rupted the training schedules of the old units. The calls upon divi- 
sions to furnish replacements usually came at a time when the morale 
of the division was at its highest point and constituted a procedure 
against which General Pershing protested vigorously. 42 In many 
instances, divisions were required to send all of their privates, leav- 
ing only skeleton organizations made up of noncommissioned officers. 
This stripping of a division was repeated in some instances as many 
as three times. 

The first regiments that sailed for Europe to make up the 1st and 
2d Divisions were filled with new recruits or by the transfer of en- 
listed men from other organizations : Department commanders used 
whichever method was necessary to get the men. When entraining 
dates arrived before units had reached prescribed strengths, requests 
for men to fill the shortages were sent by telegram to bureau chiefs 
who endeavored to have men at the stations to fill the vacant ranks. 
The War Department assigned all commissioned personnel. 

Divisions with trained nuclei could be ready for foreign service 
much earlier than those made up entirely of green troops ; so Regular 
Army and National Guard divisions were the first to go overseas. 
Because of the early call for divisions to go to France there was a 
constant drain of drafted men from the National Army cantonments ; 

41 Brig. Gen. W. P. Richardson, "World War Observations," Infantry Journal {July 
1920), p. 2. 

42 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, I, p. 652. 



also the maintenance of an army in Europe, at a great distance from 
its home base, called for a disproportionately increasing number of 
men for the service of supply, corps and army troops," and special 
personnel. The increase in the military program made evident the 
need for replacement centers where unassigned troops could be held 
and trained until called for by organizations in need of men. 

The new field artillery regiments did not have enough men with 
more than a year's service to fill all the noncommissioned grades, but 
regardless of this shortage approximately 400 experienced men had 
to be detailed as instructors in the officers' training camps which were 
being formed. The Regular Army Field Artillery had a full-sized 
job in its own expansion, but that was not all it was called upon to 
do. It had the additional tasks growing out of the raising of 138 
regiments of National Army Field Artillery and 51 regiments of 
National Guard Artillery. 43 

In the summer of 1917, three replacement battalions were estab- 
lished with the mission of providing replacements for the 5th, 6th, 
and 7th Field Artillery Regiments, but late in 1917 these battalions 
were sent to France where their personnel was distributed among the 
regiments of the 1st Field Artillery Brigade. Later calls for replace- 
ments for the overseas units were filled by drafts on the regiments 
in training in the United States with a resultant lowering of efficiency 
and interruption of training. By February 1918, when Maj. Gen. 
William J. Snow was detailed as Chief of Field Artillery, the situa- 
tion within that arm was regarded as chaotic, and the major respon- 
sibility for training had fallen on the divisions. 

The War Department had expected that the divisional schools would 
furnish officers for new organizations and for loss replacements, but 
the number of officers required greatly exceeded early estimates. The 
division schools, in many instances, lacked competent instructors, were 
not properly coordinated, and were not suited to training officer 
specialists. A school was broken up whenever the division of which 
it was a part was required to move. The training which the schools 
were giving was criticized as being superficial, uncoordinated, and 
inefficient; and it was said the courses did not turn out the required 
number of capable graduates. Duplication of effort in the operation 
of so many small schools wasted material and the time of instructors. 
There was no adequate plan for the training of enlisted replacements 
to meet the needs of units overseas. Consequently, general training 
of officers under the chiefs of the arms and services was instituted in 
an effort to correct the deficiencies that had been observed in the divi- 
sion schools, but the Artillery did not have the equivalent of the depot 
brigades which were serving the Infantry. 

43 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, 1, pt. 4, p. 5051. 

346225 O - 55 - 13 



The Chief of Field Artillery, recognizing the need for a replacement 
camp, on 27 March 1918 submitted a recommendation to the Chief of 
Staff in which he said : 

The necessity for the establishment of this camp at the earliest practicable 
date arises from the fact that we now have no replacement drafts of Field 
Artillery in this country. Furthermore, the replacement divisions of the corps 
in France cannot supply the same proportion of artillery replacements to their 
combat divisions as Infantry replacements. Three out of six regiments of 
Field Artillery in the two replacement divisions in each corps will be used as 
Corps and Army artillery. From the other three replacements must come the 
replacements of the Corps Artillery, as well as the replacements of the Artil- 
lery of the four combat divisions. These three regiments may also have to 
reinforce the line and act independently of the Infantry of their respective 
divisions. It therefore follows that casualties in the Artillery now in France 
will have to be replaced by drawing more directly on the United States than* 
in the case with Infantry replacements. Since there are no replacement troops 
of Field Artillery even corresponding to the depleted depot brigades of Infantry 
in the United States, the Artillery replacements will have to be taken from 
existing Artillery brigades until the Artillery replacement camp is able to turn 
out men sufficiently trained to be sent overseas. . . . 

These replacements will probably have to be taken from those National 
Guard brigades not included in the first three corps to be sent overseas (since 
only the National Guard brigadfes have an average of over four-fifths author- 
ized strength). There are nine of these brigades. These nine brigades can 
furnish the estimated total replacements for the months of March, April, May, 
and June (7,200) at the rate of 800 per brigade ; in addition they may be called 
upon to furnish 960 more men per brigade to fill brigades ordered overseas; 
any further withdrawals would most seriously cripple them. It therefore fol- 
lows the Artillery Replacement Camp must be organized as soon as possible 
so as to take over the burden of replacements after the month of June. 44 

National Guard divisions were deficient in engineer troops when 
they were called into Federal service. This handicap was overcome 
by transferring to engineer regiments organizations originally formed 
in other branches of the line. 45 The plan for the organization of the 
AEF called for the Chief of Engineers to replace the losses suffered 
by the Regular Army and by the rear echelon engineer troops ; but it 
contemplated that depot divisions would take care of engineer losses 
which were suffered in the divisions. 

In an attempt to fulfill his obligations under the replacement sys- 
tem, the Chief of Engineers in October 1917 requested authority to 
construct a replacement camp which would have a capacity of 16,000 
men. Early in 1918, after the Chief of Engineers was given the addi- 
tional responsibility of furnishing engineer replacements to combat 
divisions, the estimate of the capacity required for the engineer re- 
placement camp was increased to 40,000. The War Department au- 
thorized 30,000. 

« ma., p. 5i7i. 

"IMd., II, pp. 3-55. 



After the Regular Army and National Guard divisions had been 
filled from the National Army cantonments and the National Army 
had formed a number of divisions and started training, the special 
schools vigorously demanded more men. General Pershing com- 
plained that the General Staff had failed to provide men for special 
services and that this failure had made it necessary to take soldiers 
from combat divisions. The AEF Commander in Chief believed the 
General Staff should have anticipated such requirements from the 
start of the war and should have segregated these specialists and 
trained them as such. 

General Pershing blamed the General Staff of the War Department 
for the shortage of replacements as well as for the slow arrival of 
other troops in France. He said : 

The War Department General Staff, as the superior coordinating agency, 
must take the greater part of the blame. ... It has always been difficult for 
me to understand why our General Staff clung so long to the antiquated sys- 
tems and faulty precedents which had guided its activities prior to our entry 
into the war. 46 

Additional functions which grew out of the war effort required the 
organization of many new agencies. Some of the old agencies took 
on new and specialized duties. The Quartermaster Corps developed 
into the procuring and storage agency of the Army, giving up many 
of its prior functions including that of construction, which went to 
the newly created Construction Division of the Army. The rapid 
expansion of the Embarkation Service caused it to become independ- 
ent. The Tank Corps and the Chemical Warfare Service were estab- 
lished, and motor transport activities were consolidated into the 
Motor Transport Corps. The Bureau of Aircraft Production was 
divorced from the Signal Corps to become the Department of Mili- 
tary Aeronautics, later known as the Air Service. The Air Service 
had a system of camps and flying fields separate from the camps and 
cantonments established by other branches of the Army. 

The demand for specialists in such departments as the Quarter- 
master, Ordnance, Engineer, Signal Corps, Medical Corps, and other 
service organizations increased by leaps and bounds, and all line com- 
panies in the United States were combed several times in an effort to 
locate skilled men and transfer them where their abilities were most 
needed. Commanders were so insistent in their calls for men that it 
became necessary for the General Staff to analyze all requests. Corps 
chiefs made final recommendations in the determination of requisi- 
tion priorities within their own departments, and the Operations 
Branch of the War Department General Staff determined priorities 
among the other various services and agencies. 

46 Pershing, op. tit., p. 278. 



Bayonet instruction at Camp Gordon, Ga., 1918. 

Depot brigades might have been satisfactory for training replace- 
ments for a military operation of less magnitude, but they were not 
adequate for the 30-division program and were entirely inadequate 
for the 80-division program. Instead of parts of divisional canton- 
ments being used for replacement training, entire camps were taken 
over as soon as they w T ere made available by the departure of National 
Army divisions for overseas service. 

By March 1918, men were accumulating in the depot brigades; they 
now contained more men than they could handle, with the result that 
a division of the work became necessary. All that the depots could 
accomplish was to receive draftees into the Army ; separate the fit 
from the unfit, the literate from the illiterate; classify the men as to 
intelligence and vocational ability; put them in uniform and impart 
to them the rudiments of discipline; and, finally, group and entrain 
them for their units. There was little time for the training of 
replacements. 47 

Maj. Gen. John F. Morrison, Director of Training, recognized the 
need of training replacements separately and twice recommended the 
establishment of training depots having no other function. His sec- 
ond recommendation was approved by the War Department and led 
to the establishment of the replacement training camps. 48 

Special training camps were opened, some late in 1917, others early 
in 1918; and by the spring of 1918 replacement, troops were being 

47 War Department Annual Reports, If) 19, I, p. 201. 

48 Maj. Gen. Henry Jervoy, Lecture before the Staff College, 3 Jan 20. National War 
College Library. No. 15, 1020. 



trained in designated locations. Beginning in April, 1918, 49 replace- 
ment training camps were started as follows : 

Infantry : Camps Lee, Va. ; Gordon, Ga. ; Pike, Ark. ; MacArthur, 

Tex. ; Grant, 111. 
Machine Guns : Camp Hancock, Ga. 
Field Artillery : Camps Jackson, S. C. ; Taylor, Ky. 
Quartermaster : Camp J oseph E. Johnston, Fla. 
Engineers : Camp Humphreys, Va. 

Medical Department : Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. ; Fort Riley, Kan. 
Signal Corps : Camp Alfred Vail, N. J. 
Coast Artillery : Camp Abraham Eustis, Va. 

Little was done during World War I to develop a replacement 
training system for chemical warfare, tank, or air service units then 
in the course of development. The Air Service obtained service 
squadrons by the transfer of supply organizations no longer needed 
for other purposes. Air Service officers were being supplied from 
graduates of flying and balloon schools. 

War Department regulations issued in August 1918 announced that 
the term "replacement and training camp" no longer would be used. 
Installations known under that name were redesignated "training 
centers." 50 Units engaged in training replacements were referred to 
as "replacement battalions" in both the training centers and the depot 
brigades. After the National Army divisions returned from Europe 
at the close of the war they generally were demobilized in the same 
camps in which they had been organized. The replacement battalions 
assisted in the personnel work connected with demobilization and 
were discontinued soon after the divisions were broken up. 

The Effectiveness of the Replacement Camps 

The first replacement camps were established in April 1918, but 
several months were required to get them operating. There were sev- 
eral reasons for the delay : the cantonments which the camps were to 
occupy could not be made available until the divisions that had trained 
there were sent overseas ; after the divisions moved, considerable alter- 
ations were necessary, officers and instructors had to be trained, and 
the recruits assembled. By early summer, the camps were functioning 
and their output almost equaled requirements of the combat troops, 
but when the Allies assumed the offensive in Europe the demand for 
replacements increased to such an extent that the number available 
in the United States was not sufficient. The influenza epidemic made 

49 WD GO 77, 21 Aug 18, par. II. 

50 WD GO 77, 21 Aug 18. 



this situation even worse. Indications in the United States at the 
time of the armistice were that the training camps offered an effective 
solution to the replacement problem. General March said: 

... as cables began to come from the AEF requesting replacements, 
instead of taking them from divisions already trained as units, we simply 
went to the replacement camp and took these specially trained men, thus 
permitting our divisions to go to France intact. 51 

But the reform did not take place early enough to make itself felt 
in France. General Pershing said — 

. . . although the War Department eventually established a replacement 
system, as urgently recommended by me, it was done too late to be of material 
benefit even to the last division that came over in the fall of 1918. 52 

By 1 July 1918, the Americans were able to announce that the first 
million men had sailed. The movement of the second million required 
only 4 months. The American divisions in combat in France received 
sufficient replacements to remain in action although they were at re- 
duced strength from that originally provided in tables of organization. 
A replacement system had been evolved, partly as a result of staff 
planning and partly as a result of developments in the field. The 
combat divisions, during the latter part of 1918, were able to devote 
their entire time and attention to combat training, with a minimum 
of distraction and without losses from requisitions to fill other units. 53 

The depot brigades, and later the replacement centers when they 
came into being, were used not only for replacements but as pools of 
personnel to fill up National Guard and National Army units and to 
form innumerable new units not even contemplated in the original 
requirements. Men trained as replacements for particular arms and 
services were often used to meet immediate needs. The first field artil- 
lery replacements sent overseas after completion of a course of train- 
ing never reached field artillery units but were put to work on the rail- 
roads under the Corps of Engineers. 54 

An Army War College study conducted after the war concluded — 

With 700,000 troops instead of the 1,500,000 recommended by the General 
Staff the War Department proceeded to carry out its initial program of rais- 
ing 42 divisions. No revision of this program was made. No pool of replace- 
ments was created and no steps were taken to obtain or earmark 313,000 
troops estimated as necessary for the line of communications. In short, the 
War Department did not cut its suit to fit its cloth. Somebody blundered. 
The results were far-reaching, both in the zone of interior and the theater of 
operations. 65 

51 March, op. cit., p. 8. 

B2 Pershing, op. cit., p. 380. 

53 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, I, p. 262. 
M Allin, statement, op. cit. 

as Rpt, Committee No. 5, AWC, 31 Oct 34, sub : "Replacements." NWCL, 1-1935-5, p. 13. 



Embarkation Depots 

Most of the men who went to Europe during World War I passed 
through Xew York Harbor. In addition to the port of embarkation 
at Hoboken, X. J., other ports were at Xewport Xews, Va. ; Baltimore, 
Md. ; Boston, Mass. ; Charleston, S. C. ; Philadelphia, Pa. ; Brooklyn, 
N. Y. ; Halifax, Quebec, and Montreal in Canada. 56 The operation 
of these ports required more than 53,000 men. A training camp for 
stevedores was operated at Xewport Xews, Va. 

To care for troop movements through Xew York, two camps of 
embarkation were established in the fall of 1917 — Camp Merritt, at 
Tenafly, X. J., and Camp Mills, on Long Island. Each of these camps 
had a capacity of 40,000 men. Space for 20,000 more was later pro- 
vided at Camp Upton on Long Island. 57 

By January 1918, it had become necessary for ports of embarkation 
to establish special facilities to take care of casual officers and men. 
The first replacements to move overseas were unorganized and with- 
out officers when they arrived at the ports* Before they could embark, 
sailing and passenger lists had to be prepared, service records of 
the replacements had to be brought up to date, and they had to be 
formed into units. When the casual camps first started to handle 
replacements, casual officers who were on their way to overseas des- 
tinations were selected and placed in command of improvised replace- 
ment units. Frequently, these officers lacked the experience necessary 
for such a task. 

When the AEF started to demand large numbers of replacements 
the men who arrived at the ports were, for the most part, without 
formal organization, usually without officers, and sometimes without 
discipline. Draft boards occasionally sent men still wearing their 
civilian clothing directly to the ports. These men were assigned to 
casual camps, then sometimes were neglected for long periods. After 
their numbers became too great for them to move as individuals with- 
out disrupting the transportation service, they were organized into 
casual companies, usually of 50 men. 58 The first eight casual com- 
panies left Xew York for France on 5 January 1918, and before the 
end of the war more than 50,000 men per month were going overseas in 
these companies. 

The Adjutant General of the War Department submitted overseas 
orders of casual officers to the Director of Embarkation and obtained 
his approval before the orders were published. 59 The Director of Em- 

56 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, 1, pt. 4, p. 4909. 

67 War Department Annual Reports , 1918>X, p. 30. 

68 WD GO 64, 3 Jul 18, par. VI. 

59 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, 1, p. 385. 



barkation was in a better position to check transportation requests 
and prevent from going overseas those officers who lacked authority 
from either the Commanding General of the Expeditionary Force, the 
Chief of Staff of the Army, or the Director of Operations of the War 
Department General Staff. When the Director of Embarkation re- 
ceived the advance copy of the order he was able to make transporta- 
tion arrangements or to advise that facilities would not be available. 

The organization of casuals into companies containing troops of 
several arms or services caused confusion in the French ports with the 
result that many casuals were lost and never reached their units. This 
situation became so serious that the AEF abandoned attempts to for- 
ward stragglers to their former units and treated them all as replace- 
ments. Officers at the ports of debarkation first ascertained each man's 
training, then sent him to any organization which happened to need 
a man with that training. In J uly 1918, the War Department ordered 
officials in the United States to adopt this simplified system, and there- 
after ports of embarkation treated all casuals as replacemens. Casual 
camps sorted the men according to their training and placed them in 
skeleton replacement companies representing the different branches 
of the service. Units that were short of men upon arrival at the port 
of embarkation were filled by taking men from the casual companies. 60 

When shipments to France had been properly regulated, nearly 
a fourth of those who embarked were replacement troops. Most were 
trained as infantrymen*, artillerymen, or machinegunners, and they 
crossed tlie ocean in homogeneous units and entered the reservoir of 
men from which the combat divisions of the AEF filled up their 

Fewer than 4,000 replacements sailed from New York in January 
1918, but by summer a peak of 50,000 per month was reached. From 
January to November 1918, approximately 236,000 replacements were 
shipped overseas, the equivalent of eight divisions. 

Illiterates and Limited Service Men 

Many men who were regarded as physically fit at the time they 
were* drafted later proved unable to stand up under general military 
service. By May 1918, more than 100,000 men declared unfit for over- 
seas service had accumulated in the camps, taking up much- needed 
space, retarding the progress of the training units, and costing the 
Government a great deal of money. 

Such men later were placed in development battalions in which they 
were given instruction designed to fit them to do some kind of useful 
work in the Army. Development battalions were authorized for Na- 

Crowell and Wilson, op. oit., p. 21C* 



tional Army, Xational Guard, and Regular Army divisional camps 
and in such other camps as might be designated by the Secretary of 
War. 61 The development battalions were intended to relieve divisions, 
replacement organizations, and other units of all unfit men. They 
were authorized to conduct intensive training with a view to develop- 
ing men for duty with combatant or noncombatant forces either with- 
in the United States or for service abroad. It was expected these bat- 
talions would rid the service of all men who after trial were found 
to be physically, mentally, or morally incapable of performing the 
duties of a soldier. Boards, usually consisting of a summary court 
officer, could determine whether or not a man should be transferred 
to a development battalion. Such transfers generally were made with- 
in 1 month after the man entered the Army. Within the battalions, 
men were grouped into classes corresponding to their aptitude or 
degree of training. War Department orders were required to trans- 
fer men out of development battalions. 

From May until Xovember 1918, about 224,000 men with limited 
capabilities had .been trained or had started training; when the 
armistice was signed 129,000 were performing useful tasks, largely in 
the supply and administrative branches where they had released men 
qualified for combat duty. The remainder of the 224,000 had been 
discharged or were still in training. Many of the illiterates and 
non-English-speaking men had learned to write letters or simple mes- 
sages within 3 months after starting their studies. 

Besides accepting into the service those men with minor defects, 
draft boards rejected large numbers for minor causes. Out of 3,208,446 
registrants examined by the draft boards, 339,377. or 10.58 percent, 
were rejected as unfit for general military service although they were 
capable of many forms of limited service. 62 Many of these men, 
chagrined at being rejected, sought a chance to serve in some capacity. 
The General Staff, in the summer of 1918, made plans for using on 
limited service men such as the draft boards were rejecting. The 
first of these were called into the Army in June. In all, local boards 
drafted 108,245 classified as fit only for limited duty. Many were 
trained in the development battalions, but after a report from the 
Provost Marshal General a camp for limited service men was opened 
at Camp Upton, X. Y., in July. The first group at this camp num- 
bered about 10,000, many of whom later were assigned as clerks and 
stenographers, placed in other office work, or given positions in admin- 
istrative agencies. 63 Additional groups were trained later. The War 
Department adopted the policy of using limited service men to the 

81 WD GO 45, 9 May 1918, par. 1 ; T/O 401, Training Bn., Inf., Series D, corrected to 22 
Mar 1918 ; Order of Battle . . . Zone of the Interior, p. 1309. 

62 Second Report of the Provost Marsfial General, p. 154. 

63 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, I, p. 268. 



maximum extent possible in order to increase the number of physically 
fit men who would be available for combat duty. 

The Inspector General reported that the development battalions 
were hampered by lack of personnel, and that their administration, 
discipline, and systems of training were not uniform in the several 
camps. 64 This report indicated that the men assigned from develop- 
ment battalions to units were not all sufficiently trained to be of value. 
At first, the development battalions were part of the depot brigades, 
but they later were made independent units to facilitate administra- 

Classification of Military Skills 

At the beginning of the mobilization there were few Regular Army 
officers available to perform the scores of duties connected with the 
procurement of new officers. As a result, personnel experts had to 
be recruited from commercial and industrial life. A rating scale, 
developed by Dr. Walter Dill Scot, was adapted to the needs of the 
Army and tested at the officers' training camps at Fort Myer, Va., and 
Plattsburg, N. Y. 

The Committee on Classification of Personnel in the Army, a divi- 
sion of The Adjutant General's Office, furnished assigning and ap- 
pointing agencies information regarding the occupations and abilities 
of the officers and enlisted men. This committee, established by the 
Secretary of War 5 August 1917, developed the Army classification 
system. 65 It developed classification methods and forms for enlisted 
personnel and did pioneer work in preparing psychiatric tests for job 
classification of enlisted men. It also prepared a rating card for 
officers which later was replaced by efficiency reports prepared by the 
Personnel Branch, the first real efficiency reports used by the Army. 

The Personnel Branch of the Operations Division of the General 
Staff, at the time of its organization, made a thorough survey of 
officers' records, classification methods, and efficiency reporting. It 
studied civilian practices and methods used in foreign armies, pre- 
pared a single list promotion plan, and proposed legislation which 
led to the class B officer classification boards. The single list promo- 
tion plan did much to remove old branch and arm jealousies and to 
improve morale. 66 This branch studied a plan for central control 
over all sources for officers of the line. After the Armistice, the pro- 
curement and appointment functions of the branch were limited to 
the Reserve Corps. When the Committee on Classification of Per- 

64 Ibid., p. 653. 

65 War Department Annual Reports, 19 IS, I, p. 212. 

66 Bishop, statement, op. ext. 



sonnel in the Army went out of existence, 18 September 1918, its per- 
sonnel went to the Miscellaneous Section of the Personnel Branch. 67 

The Promotion and Assignment Section of the Personnel Branch 
undertook a study of classification methods in an effort to provide 
data needed to develop uniform procedures. The Procurement Sec- 
tion obtained commissioned personnel and made assignments to fill 
requisitions from all branches of the service. 6S At the time the Pro- 
curement Section was established, 1 October 1918, no commissions 
had been issued to civilians since 12 August and about 14,000 vacan- 
cies existed. Twelve district offices were established, and by 11 Novem- 
ber 400 applications were being received daily. Centralized procure- 
ment offered a number of advantages over the system of procure- 
ment through the staff corps : competition among the arms and serv- 
ices seeking officers was eliminated, and recruiting parties, which 
formerly had procured officers, were no longer necessary. 

The depots themselves created special organizations for each spe- 
cific duty in connection with the handling of men and so achieved 
greater efficiency. Physical examinations were given by special medi- 
cal boards ; special mental tests were given by psychological boards ; 
and trade tests, both oral and written, were administered by trade- 
test detachments under the personnel officers. A special committee 
of the American Psychological Association devised the Alpha and 
Beta tests, which indicated general intelligence. Alpha tests were 
for men who could read and write English ; Beta tests were for those 
who could not. Between 1 May and 1 October 1918, approximately 
1,300,000 men took these tests. 69 

All officers of the Army below the grade of brigadier general, on 
active duty and serving within the continental limits of the United 
States, filled out qualification cards and were rated according to a 
rating scale. 70 These cards accompanied the officers upon transfer, 
within the United States or overseas, and were delivered to the com- 
manding officers to whom they reported. Duplicate officers' quali- 
fication cards were forwarded to The Adjutant General of the Army, 
except for those of officers of staff corps, the National Guard, National 
Army, and Officers Reserve Corps, which went to the chief of the 
staff corps or department concerned. These cards provided a record 
of both the civilian occupation and the military experience of each 
officer. Ratings were given on physical and personal qualities, intel- 
ligence, leadership, and general value to the service ; and this inf or- 

87 Brig. Gen. Percy Poe Bishop, "Army Personnel. Plans," Army and Navy Register LXV 
(1919), p. 641. 

68 IMd., p. 513. 

69 The Personnel System of the U. 8. Army (CCP 400), II, p. 220. 
*° WD GO 46, 9 May 1$, 



mation was used in determining assignments. The cards recorded 
the opinions of commanders as to the ability of their officers, entries 
which affected promotions, demotions, and separations from the 

The ideal sought in the depot brigades was a single receiving estab- 
lishment where the recruit might enter, change to a uniform, and 
undergo a trade test to determine his ability and best assignment, after 
which he would be ready for his firs£ training. Classification usually 
was accomplished during the first 10 days after a man arrived in camp. 
Camps were furnished sets of questions divided into groups of 10 ques- 
tions each designed for apprentices, journeymen, or experts in certain 
occupations. 71 Before the World War I mobilization ceased, stand- 
ardized tests had been prepared in 83 of the more essential trades. 
The Committee on Classification of Personnel had devised tables of 
occupational needs for various military units and published the trade 
specification and occupational index as well as qualification cards and 
a rating scale adapted to military units. Reports which were obtained 
from employers aided in the identification of specialists who entered 
the Army. 

A qualification record card, showing civilian occupation and military 
experience, accompanied each enlisted man to each new assignment. 
Tables of occupational needs, specifying the proper assignment in a 
division for men with trade abilities, were issued to division com- 
manders on 28 March 1918. These tables showed the requirements 
for skills in each unit. By using them, personnel officers could correctly 
place trained men who previously had not been properly assigned, 
thereby avoiding the delay and expense of procuring craftsmen from 
the Army schools. 

Camp personnel adjutants kept the records not only of all the sol- 
diers in the permanent camp service units, but also of the recruits from 
the time they were classified in the depot brigades until they trans- 
ferred into the divisional units. 72 The Adjutant General's Department 
assigned personnel adjutants, who could not be replaced without 
approval from Washington. Schools for personnel adjutants were 
established to train the interviewers who questioned the men, and by 
the close of the 1918 fiscal year, 345 candidates had attended these 
schools. Interviewers, using instructions from the Trade Test Divi- 
sion, checked the soldiers' claims, of ability in any trade and deter- 
mined the degree of their skill by means of standardized questions 
prepared after thorough study of the trades involved. In addition to 
taking oral tests, soldiers had to perform the job. A soldier who 
claimed to be a truckdriver not only answered questions about driving 
but also drove a truck over a difficult test course. 

I 1 The Personnel System of the U. 8. Army (CCP 399), I, p. 348. 
72 Ibid., I, p. 85. 



Personnel adjutants and their staffs at the camps where the njen 
were received from civil life were responsible for interviewing and 
trade testing. They assumed responsibility for all the work formerly 
done by the mustering officers and prepared all the papers having to 
do with insurance and allotments. They had charge of the records 
of each soldier from the time he entered the camp as a civilian until 
he was assigned to a unit or until he was rejected and returned to 
civilian life. 

Reports on the number of men skilled in specified lists of Army 
trades were sent from receiving camps to the Adjutant General's 
Office where they were summarized by the Central Personnel Division. 
This division received all requisitions for personnel from staff corps 
and authorized units of the Army. After considering the reports from 
the field and studying the vocational composition of military units, 
it filled the requisitions when authorized by the Operations Division 
of the War Department General Staff. 

The Committee on Classification, under staff supervision, received all 
requisitions for enlisted men, analyzed the requirements of the units 
submitting the requisitions, and dreAv up the orders of assignment 
upon the basis of the tabulated reports and in accordance with the 
general program. Under this system the committee supplied 64 per- 
cent of the Signal Corps, 45 percent of the Engineers, 44 percent of the 
Field Artillery, 42 percent of the Coast Artillery Corps, and 41 percent 
of the construction troops. 73 

The War Service Exchange of the Committee on Classification of 
Personnel in the Army, established by The Adjutant General on 9 
January 1918, determined the qualifications of civilians who desired to 
serve the Army, either as officers, enlisted specialists, or in a civilian 
capacity, and advised them how to proceed. Applicants were classified 
on forms similar to the officers' qualification card. By the close of the 
fiscal year 1918, about 31,000 of these forms had been used, but this 
number represented only about 20 percent of the total applications 
received, for many who were considered did not progress far enough 
for their forms to be filled out. 

The Trend Toward Specialization 

When the camps found it necessary to specialize, most of the infan- 
try replacements were trained at Camp Gordon, Ga. : Camp Lee, Va. ; 
Camp Pike, Ark,; Camp MacArthur, Tex.; or Camp Grant, 111. Ma- 
chine gunners were trained at Camp Hancock, Ga. ; field artillerymen 
at Camp Jackson, S. C, and Camp Taylor, Ky. ; signal corps replace- 
ments at Camp Meade, Md. ? and Camp Alfred J. Vail, X. J. 74 Special- 

73 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, I, p. 263. 
u Crowell and Wilson, op. cit. pp. 70-71. 



ized replacement training carried on at other centers included : Engi- 
neer Corps, Camp Humphreys, Va., and Camp Forrest, Ga. ; Quarter- 
master Corps, Camp Joseph E. Johnston, Fla., and Camp Meigs, D. C. ; 
Medical Corps, Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., and Fort Riley, Kans. ; Coast 
Artillery, Camp Eustis, Va. ; Tank Corps, Camp Polk, N. C, and a 
training camp at Gettysburg, Pa.; Chemical Warfare, Lakehurst, 
N. J. The Air Service established a number of flying fields and train- 
ing camps. 

The instruction in the technical and staff branches was charged 
to the chiefs of those branches, to be conducted by them according to 
their needs, but supervised by the Training and Instruction Branch 
of G3, War Department General Staff. The training for the infantry 
and machinegun replacements centered in the Training Branch and 
was covered by a training circular issued to all camps. 

Replacement training up to the time of the Armistice was conducted 
on the following basis : Infantry, 60 percent ; Engineers, 13 percent ; 
Field Artillery, 8 percent ; Signal Corps, 6 percent ; Quartermaster, 4 
percent ; Medical Department, 3 percent ; Coast Artillery Corps, 3 per- 
cent ; Ordnance, 2 percent ; and Calvary, 1 percent. 


Estimates early in 1918 indicated a need for 150,000 additional of- 
ficers. In order to allow for those who failed to complete their train- 
ing, it appeared that about 200,000 should be enrolled in officers' train- 
ing schools. Many of the cadets graduated from the United States 
Military Academy in 1916 were immediately commissioned first lieu- 
tenants. Provisional second lieutenants who were appointed during 
the latter part of 1916 were chosen from the enlisted men of the Regu- 
lar Army, from among officers and enlisted men of the National Guard, 
and from men in civil life. 75 Some noncommissioned officers of the 
National Army who were regarded as outstanding were commissioned 
as temporary second lieutenants for the duration of the war. Grad- 
uates of the central officers' training schools conducted by the arms 
and services received provisional commissions. Students at the Mili- 
tary Academy in five classes were commissioned before completing 
their regular 4-year course. These classes graduated on the following 
schedule : 

Class of 1917—20 April 1917. 
Class of 1918—30 August 1917. 
Class of 1919—12 June 1918. 
Class of 1920—1 November 1918. 
Class of 1921—1 November 1918. 

War Department Annual Reports, 1918, 1, p. 1421 ; 1919 I, pt. 1, pp. 298, 510. 



The early graduation of students at the Military Academy some- 
times resulted in problems relating to promotion and assignment of 
officers. The 1-year course of instruction adopted in 1918 was con- 
tinued until 13 May 1919 when it was increased to 3 years, and later 
the 4-year course was resumed. 

Samuel Gompers, President of the AmericaijL Federation of Labor, 
believed foremen on industrial jobs should be given direct commis- 
sions. He said that laborers would have more confidence if they 
went to war under the leadership of men they knew and trusted. 76 
The General Staff of the War Department feared, however, that the 
foremen would need more than the ability they had gained in indus- 
try if they were to retain the confidence of their men in battle. 

Three months 5 intensive training was offered to qualified civilians 
at summer training camps modeled after the Plattsburg idea, and 
in August of 1917 these camps graduated 27,341 candidates for offi- 
cers' commissions, a number sufficient for the immediate needs of the 
Army. 77 

At the close of the first series of officers' training camps, the War 
Department sent to France as replacements 1,000 infantry lieutenants, 
600 field artillery lieutenants, and 200 lieutenants each from the Coast 
Artillery, Engineers, and Signal Corps. 78 In France these officers 
received additional training in British and French schools. A large 
number were then assigned to the 1st Division, which at that time 
had very few lieutenants because automatic promotions had advanced 
most of the junior officers to the grade of captain. 79 

All together the War Department sent 6,000 junior grade casual 
officers to France, but the number was not sufficient. The shortage 
was largely filled by graduates from the Army Candidates School 
at Langres, which graduated 6,895 infantrymen. 3,393 artillerymen, 
1,332 engineers, and 365 signalmen. Selected soldiers were commis- 
sioned second lieutenants in the Infantry, Cavalry, Engineers or Sig- 
nal Corps after 3 months' training. The Heavy Artillery School, 
which was opened at Mailly, 80 conducted a course for enlisted candi- 
dates, but after the Artillery School at Saumur was established all 
candidates from both light and heavy regiments were sent to Saumur 
at the rate of four candidates per month from each regiment. There 
was some specialization, but most of the output of the school, about 
800 lieutenants per month, was distributed between Light and Heavy 
Artillery primarily on the basis of need. 81 Officers were trained for 

76 Palmer, op. cit. 3 p. 141. 

77 War Department Annual Reports, 1918, I, p. 18. 

78 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, 1, p. 309. 

79 Shipley Thomas, The History of the AEF (New York 1920), p. 45. 

80 Hq AEF GO 32, 18 Feb 18. 

81 Statement, Brig Gen Frank S. Clark (Ret). HIS 330.14. 



staff work at the Staff College at Langres, a convenient school loca- 
tion because it was near GHQ at Chaumont. 

A second series of officers' training camps in the United States was 
held during September, October, and November 1917, and a third 
series from January to April 1918. The men assigned to the first 
two camps were mostly civilians. Because officers of all grades were 
needed, commissions were granted up to and including the grade of 
colonel. The third series drew 90 percent of its candidates from the 
enlisted men, while the other 10 percent came from civilians of draft 
age who had received military' training at recognized educational 
institutions. Those who graduated were appointed second lieutenants. 

A fourth series of officers' training schools, with an initial enroll- 
ment of 13,114, was established 15 May 1918, in 24 National Guard 
divisions in the United States. In all, the third and fourth series 
of camps resulted in commissioning 28,894 officers. Schools of the 
first three series had been parts of the divisions to which they were 
attached and accompanied the divisions when they moved — moves 
which frequently proved fatal to further training. 82 The urgent 
need for the line officers caused the fourth series' schools to be sep- 
arated from the divisions; five central officers' training camps accord- 
ingly were established at permanent replacement camps. Candi- 
dates from divisions scheduled for early overseas service were trans- 
ferred to the central schools, which had an enrollment of about 46,000 
candidates on 1 November 1918. 

The United States entered World War I with an Air Service of 65 
officers and 1,120 enlisted men. 83 At the time of the Armistice, the 
Air Service included more than 20,000 commissioned officers, 6,000 
cadets, and 164,000 enlisted men. Training progressed as fast as 
fields could be built and equipment provided. There were about 
11,000 flying officers, nearly half of whom were overseas. Approxi- 
mately 17,000 cadets were graduated from ground schools; 8,602 re- 
serve military aviators were graduated from elementary training 
schools ; and 4,028 completed advanced training in the United States. 

The central officers' training camps which were established at the 
permanent replacement camps in June of 1918 included those for in- 
fantrymen at Camp Pike, Ark. ; Camp Gordon, Ga. ; and Camp Lee, 
Va. ; one for machine gunners at Camp Hancock, Ga. ; and one for 
field artillerymen at Camp Taylor, Ky. The three infantry schools 
graduated 3,384 on 26 August 1918, the field artillery school gradu- 
ated 3,690 during August and September, and the machinegun school 
graduated 649 on 15 September. In August 1918, there were short- 
ages in the Infantry of 1,326 captains and 3,825 first lieutenants. 

82 War Department Annual Reports, 1918, I, pp. 18, 183-187. 

83 IMd. f pp. 55-56. 



World War I officers at Plattsburg, A\ Y., waiting to receive cquipnienj. 

Offset against these was a surplus of 520 second lieutenants. Some 
of the Central Officers' Training School classes were graduated ahead 
of time to take care of the shortages. 84 

A special training school for colored officers of the line was opened 
at Fort Des Moines, from which 639 officers were graduated in 1917; 
two schools were operated in Puerto Rico, from which 433 officers 
were graduated; and schools were established in the Philippines, 
Hawaii, and Panama, the last named being discontinued for lack of 
suitable candidates. 

A Committee on Education and Special Training was created with- 
in the War Department on 10 February 1918 to study the needs for 
skilled men and to determine whether to meet these needs by the draft, 
by special training at educational institutions, or by other means. 
This committee sought the cooperation of the educational institutions 
of the country in the military training program and represented the 
War Department in dealing with those institutions. It was made up 
of Army officers assisted by an advisory board of members selected 
from educational institutions. The chief of each staff corps or depart- 
ment detailed an officer to present the needs of his corps or depart- 
ment in consultations with the committee. 85 

84 Ibid,, 1919, I, p. 304. 

85 Ibid., p. 320. 

346225 O - 55 - 14 



The French and English Governments detailed a number of officers 
experienced in combat to come to the United States and assist in the 
training of officer candidates and officers. 86 

Senior grade Reserve Officers' Training Corps units at 102 educa- 
tional institutions enrolled 36,000 students during the winter of 1917- 
18. On 3 June 1918, three Reserve Officers 5 Training Corps camps 
opened at Plattsburg Barracks, N. Y., Fort Sheridan, 111., and the 
Presidio of San Francisco, Calif. There were 6,500 students in these 
camps and the first commissions were granted 18 September 1918 to 
3,264 lieutenants of infantry and 597 artillery officers. 87 

In the fall of 1918, ROTC units were replaced by the Student Army 
Training Corps, which enrolled about 158,000 but was discontinued 
following the Armistice. Members of the SATC were enlisted in the 
Army and received pay and allowances. National Army training 
detachments at the technical schools and colleges obtained men by 
voluntary induction, and by 11 November 1918 about 141,000 had re- 
ceived training in 141 educational institutions. Military organiza- 
tions had received 102,000 of these men and 38,000 were still in train- 

On 11 November 1918, the Secretary of War directed that no more 
candidates would be admitted to officers' training schools and can- 
didates were given the option of taking an immediate discharge or of 
finishing their courses and receiving commissions. The majority ac- 
cepted discharges. The officers' training schools'were closed as rapidly 
as possible after 11 November. From the beginning of the war until 
11 November 1918, there were 80,586 officers appointed from officer 
training schools. 88 

On 14 August 1918, the General Staff discontinued the appointment 
of officers from civil life. The Medical Department, which had ob- 
tained most of its officers from civil life, 89 opposed the regulations 
adopted in 1918 requiring that all applicants placed in Class 1 by local 
draft boards must be inducted as enlisted men before they could be 
commissioned. In October 1918, the Personnel Diyision of the War 
Department General Staff assumed responsibility for all appointment 
of officers of all branches of the service. Critics of this policy com- 
plained that it removed all personal contact between the departments 
desiring an applicant's service and the applicant himself. Some 
members of the staff corps complained that after this order they were 
required to requisition on the Personnel Division of the War Depart- 
ment General Staff for officers the same as supply officers were re- 
quired to requisition soap or harness oil out of depots, and they re- 
sented what they regarded as impersonal treatment of human beings. 

"Ibid., 1918, I, p. 19. 
aT Ibid., 1919, I, p. 322. 

88 IMd., p. 513 ; Ibid., 1918, I, p. 185. 

89 Maj. Gen. Merritte W. Ireland, Statement before Committee on Military Affairs, H. R., 
3 Oct 1919. See Army Reorganization Hearings, 1919-20, p. 465. 


Changes in Unit Organization 

At the start of World War I the United States had no military 
units that could be sent overseas and immediately enter combat. More- 
over, the organization of the Army that was on patrol along the 
Mexican Border was not suitable for service in France. The prewar 
Army, with regiments of 1,000 or 1,200 men and companies of about 
100 men, did not fit into the European scheme. There the regiments 
approximated 2,800 officers and men and the companies contained as 
many as 264 men. General Pershing, before sailing for France, 
approved a new organizational plan which increased the size of units, 
thus calling for more replacements. The new divisions contained 
more than 28,000 men — practically double the French and German 

The first tentative program called for sending overseas one tactical 
division which would serve as the nucleus for a future organization, 
establish a training base, and attempt to lift the morale of the British 
and French people. 1 On 24 May 1917, the War Department directed 
the organization of the 1st Expeditionary Division, which later was 
designated as the 1st Division, Eegular Army. 2 The elements were 
assembled, reorganized, and brought to authorized strength by trans- 
fers and voluntary enlistments ; they then started their overseas move- 
ment, the first units arriving at St. Nazaire, 26 June 1917. The last 
part of the division arrived 22 December. 

The organization of the headquarters of both the 1st and 2d Divi- 
sions was completed in France. When the 1st Division sailed in June, 
the regiments were not at full strength. Four replacement battalions 
were formed in the United States and sent to France late in the fall 
of 1917, but their arrival did not fill all of the vacancies within the 
division, for it had suffered losses from accidents and disease even 
before its units went into action. 3 On 21 November 1917, the di- 
vision was short 8,514 soldiers. 4 

1 War Department Annual Reports, 1919,1, 238, 

2 Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War, AEF, Divisions 
(Washington, 1931). 

3 Shipley Thomas, The History of the AEF (New York, 1920), p. 47. 

* Reports of Commander in Chief, AEF, Staff Sections and Services in U. S. ARMY IN 
THE WORLD WAR, 1917-19, XII (Washington, 1948), p. 150. 




The General Organization Project 

The Baker Board study of the British and French replacement sys- 
tems disclosed that both of those countries were using two echelons, 
one near the cofnbat zone where it could serve units in line and the 
other a base and training organization in the rear area. 5 In the 
British system the training echelon was near the base ports ; the French 
maintained training units in the territorial region which levied the 
annual drafts. In both replacement systems the forward echelon 
provided the replacements for combat units. Both the British and 
French Armies detailed high-ranking officers with large administra- 
tive and training staffs to command replacement installations. 

Reports received by American officers from the Allies regarding 
their previous war losses indicated that frontline divisions would need 
in the depots a supply of replacements equal to at least 50 percent 
of the division strength and that 60 percent of these replacements 
should be infantry. 6 

The first proposals for a replacement system to provide more recruit 
depots than were already operating in the United States came from 
overseas and were prepared by General Pershing and his staff. They 
were contained in the "General Organization Project" of July 1917, 
which was sent from the AEF Headquarters to the War Department 
and provided for the shipment overseas of 30 divisions during 1917. 
i The proposals are summarized in table 9.] 

Table 9 — Proposed Corps Organization, World War I * 







Divisions (6) 

Combat divisions (4) 
Replacement divisions (2)_ 

164, 348 

145, 428 
100, 900 
44, 528 

Corps replacement and 
school division a 

Corps base and training 
division b _ _ 
Corps troops c 

20, 976 

23, 552 
18, 570 

» Same organization as combat divisions except for following detachments to corps troops: artillery brigade 
headquarters and 2 artillery regiments, 1 battalion of engineer regiment, and 2 ambulance companies and 2 
field hospital companies. 

b Same organization as combat divisions except as follows: 1 artillery regiment detached to army troops, 
and'2 ambulance companies and 2 field hospital companies detached to corps troops. 
Includes strength of replacement division units detached to corps troops. 

* Source: DA, Hist. Div., Organization of the American Expeditionary Forces in U. S. ARMY IN THE 
WORLD WAR, 1917-19 (Washington, 1948), vol. I, pp. 98-100. 

5 Organization of the American Expeditionary Forces in U. S. ARMY IN WORLD WAR, 
1917-19, I (Washington, 1948), pp. 87-88; Thomas G. Frothingham, The American Re- 
inforcement in the World War (Garden City, 1927), p. 144. 

6 War Department Annual Reports , 1919, I, p. 960. 



The report on organization which General Pershing submitted to 
the War Department on 10 July 1917 contained a section devoted to 
the replacement of personnel and materiel : 

The maintenance of a fighting force of 20 divisions in France will neces- 
sitate a systematic plan methodically executed for the replacement of losses. 
. . . Bearing in mind our long sea line of communications, it is evident and 
our allies advocate, that we maintain in France the two echelons of replace- 
ment employed by them but with a personnel equal to about 50 percent of 
replacement infantry of the fighting forces. The percent of replacement for 
the other arms is considerably smaller. . . . Study indicates the following 
replacement requirements for each corps : Two divisions complete, certain 
elements of artillery and other auxiliary troops being utilized as corps and 
army troops. After our forces are once engaged a minimum of 3,000 men per 
month for each army corps in France must be forwarded from the United 
States. . . . The replacement troops are utilized for these [training] purposes. 
By grouping these troops into divisions, not only a complete training unit 
had scheme are provided for, but, also the administration of these units is 
greatly simplified. 7 

The program as finally approved 26 September 1917 called for five 
corps of six divisions each to be in France by 31 December 1918. 8 An 
additional plan, a "Services of the Rear Project," was received in 
Washington 7 October 1917. [See chart 7.] 

The American staff had set up on paper a balanced organization of 
20 combat divisions, totaling about 1,000,000 men; 10 replacement 
divisions ; and corps, army, and line of communication troops. The 
plan submitted in the "General Organization Project" made the army 
corps with its 6 divisions, 4 of which were combat and 2 replacement 
divisions, the unit to operate the replacement system. One replace- 
ment division was to function as a depot, the other as a training divi- 
sion. 9 Both of these divisions were included in the replacement system, 
although the advance division sometimes was designated as the replace- 
ment division and the other as the base division. Staff documents gen- 
erally referred to .both as replacement divisions. A proposed seventh 
division, which would have been a depot division in the United States, 
was disapproved by the War Department on the assumption that the 
functions proposed for it would be carried out by the formation of 
replacement battalions. War Department officials expected to form 
such battalions in. the United States, give them some infantry training, 
and then send them overseas to be fed into the replacement divisions. 10 
Infantry replacement battalions were formed only for the 1st Division. 

In France, depot divisions in rear areas were to receive, classify, 
and give preliminary training to replacement troops arriving from 

7 Organization of the American Expeditionary Forces, p. 94. 

8 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, 1, pt. 1, p. 23.9. 

9 Organization of the American Experitionary Forces, pp. 94, 115, 121. 

10 Reports of Commander in Chief, AEF, Staff Sections and Services, p. 142. 
















Chiefs of 



J, J, > 


i , 










(Partially Trained Men From Units 
| Al ready prganized) j 



■ j 


Men From Divisions 

( Originally Designed 

For Combat 




Replacement Bns. 









(After8 Sep IS) 

Repl. Cos. 

Command ft Admin. 
Replacement Flow 


the United States. 11 At the end of the training period, base divisions 
were to forward all replacements to the divisions in combat or to the 
corps replacement battalions. 

The divisions that made up each corps were placed on a priority 
schedule for shipment to France — the first, second, fourth, and fifth 
to sail wsre designated as combat divisions ; the third was designated 

u ABF GO 46, 26 Mar 18, par. I, p. 4. 



as the replacement and school division in the forward echelon; the 
last division to sail was to be the rear base and training division. 12 

Each overseas army Avas made up of from 3 to 5 corps. With 4 
divisions fully trained, it was believed that an American corps could 
take over a sector with 2- divisions in line and 2 in reserve and with 
the depot and replacement divisions prepared to fill the gaps that 
might appear in the ranks from combat or other losses. The base and 
training divisions were to supply the first demand for replacements 
from their original strength, after which a minimum of 3,000 men 
per month for each army corps in France was to he forwarded from 
the United States. 

It was expected that about 42 percent of the infantry, machinegun, 
and military police personnel of the replacement divisions would be 
needed for the training of troops. The remainder could be released 
and would become replacements fpr combat units or be otherwise 
assigned. 13 It was assumed that other arms and services would use 
fewer of their men for training purposes, the estimates being — Medical 
Corps, 19 percent; Field Artillery, 20 percent; Engineer Corps, 23 
percent; Quartermaster Corps (supply and truck trains), 28 percent; 
and Signal Corps, 29 percent. 

Soon after the depot divisions arrived in France they reorganized 
into training cadres, releasing surplus men who were sent as replace- 
ments to divisions in the line. The units of the 41st Division which 
were reorganized to form the I Corps Replacement Depot included 
Division Headquarters, Headquarters 82d Brigade, parts of the 163d 
Infantry, and certain other groups; but there were about 2,800 men 
who were not needed in the depot and who became available for 
replacements. 14 The 40th Division early in September, was reorganized 
as the 6th Depot Division and released about 7,500 men to divisions in 
combat. The 76th Division released about 7,000 men when it was 
reorganized as the 3d Depot Division. 

The schedule of priority of shipments was forwarded to the War 
Department on 7 October 1917. It was intended to provide a clear-cut 
program that could be followed in the shipment of personnel and ma- 
teriel, a program that would result in a gradual buildup of a balanced 
and symmetrical force. 15 Listing the order in which troops and serv- 
ices should arrive, it established 6 phases covering the shipment of 
the proposed 6 combatant corps of 6 divisions each and called for 
the arrival in France of approximately 1,300,000 men. 

Since the replacement divisions would be the only stationary units 
in each corps, the officers who were in charge of training for the AEF 

12 Maj. Gen. Robert Alexander, Memories of the World War, 1917-1919 (New York, 1931), 
p. 22 ; Organization of the American Expeditionary Forces, pp. 94-95. 

Reports of Commander in Chief, AEF, Staff Sections and Services, p. 142. 
i* Order of Battle . . . AEF, Divisions, 
is war Department Annual Reports, 1919, 1, p. 555. 



established the corps schools in the vicinity of the replacement divi- 
sions. 16 Army schools coordinated the efforts of the several corps 
schools and sent trained instructors, while promising graduates of the 
corps schools frequently received additional training in the army 
schools. These two school groups trained many line officers. 

One half of the artillery and other auxiliaries of the two replace- 
ment divisions of each corps were to be designated as corps or army 
troops 17 in the belief that there would remain a sufficient reservoir of 
personnel to maintain the fighting strength of combat units, provided 
the sick and wounded upon recovery were promptly returned to their 
former organizations. The peak of hospitalization was not reached 
until 7 November 1918, 4 days before the armistice, when there were 
190,564 men in hospitals and convalescent camps. This number 
dropped to less than 100,000 within slightly more than 2 months, 
The bulk of replacements from the hospitals were just becoming avail- 
able when the fighting ended. 18 

Provisional Units in France 

The War Department authorized the AEF to form provisional re- 
placement units. 19 Subordinate organizations in France in need of 
depots or special companies submitted to AEF Headquarters pro- 
posed tables of organization, which were considered in the Personnel 
Division. Replacement units, when approved, generally were an- 
nounced in general orders, although letters of instruction sometimes 
granted authority for the formation of such units. The AEF Gen- 
eral Staff issue4 instructions for the transfer of replacement troops 
who were needed to provide personnel for the organizations thus 

The replacement system was the responsibility of Gl, General Head- 
quarters, AEF, but the depot divisions were under the command of the 
commanding general, Services of Supply. The Chief of the Adminis- 
trative Section, General Staff, AEF, approved all calls for replace- 
ments before men could be released from the replacement depots. 20 
Two officers and five clerks in the Administrative Section handled mat- 
ters dealing with replacements. 

Two depots were established at Blois, one of them a casual officers' 
depot and the other a base depot for reception and distribution of re- 
placements for the Services of Supply units and special-type troops. 
Hospitalized officers and soldiers were dropped from rolls at the time 

16 Thomas, op. cit. s p. 37. 

17 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, 1, p. 615. 

18 Reports of the Commander in Chief, AEF, Staff Sections and Services, p. 147. 

19 Ibid., p. 209. 

20 Ibid., p. 151 ; AEF GO 64, 21 Nov 17, par. Ill, p. 2 ; AEF GO 31, 16 Feb 18, table II. 



they left their organizations, but when they were sufficiently recovered 
they were returned to their organizations through the replacement 
system. 21 Corps commanders controlled the replacement divisions in 
the forward echelon. 

The type of staff assigned to a combat division was not entirely suit- 
able for a replacement or a casual depot; consequently, certain changes 
had to be made in the staff organization. 22 Since the system of train- 
ing was weakened by the continual shifting of instructors, it was 
found advisable to assign instructors as permanent members of the 
training units. The organization generally followed the form of an 
infantry regiment but eliminated the headquarters of the battalions. 
Training was carried out in companies which were elastic in organiza- 
tion, and only those needed to train the number of men available func- 
tioned at any given time. 

The American Army in France established base sections at the prin- 
cipal ports; intermediate sections, which included the main storage 
depots, were located farther inland ; the advance sections extended to 
the combat areas. 

Combat organizations submitted weekly requisitions for replace- 
ments, but units in the Services of Supply sent in requests once each 
month. The channel for replacement requisitions was division to 
corps; corps to replacement divisions; replacement division to depot 
division through commanding general, Services of Supply; depot 
division to General Headquarters, AEF. 23 

Automatic and Exceptional Requisitions 

Automatic replacements were shipped by the War Department 
without requests from the AEF. In March 1918 these replacements, 
which had been 2 percent per month, were increased to 3 percent per 
month. Replacements furnished in excess of automatic replacements, 
referred to as exceptional replacements, were called for on special 

On the basis of previous Allied experience as reported by the Baker 
Board, replacements for the Infantry were estimated at 60 percent 
of the total number of replacements, and the percentages for the 
remaining arms were determined by estimating their losses and con- 
sidering the relative proportion of the total number of each arm to 
the entire force in France. (^The Operations Division of the War 
Department General Staff attempted to estimate the number of re- 
placements likely to be needed for any given month and to regulate 

21 AEF GO 111, 8 Jul 18, par. VII. 

22 Col. L. W. Cass, "History of the First Replacement Depot, AEF" (MSS in National 
War College Library), 27 Feb 19. 

23 AEF GO 46, 26 Mar 18. 



the draft, the output of the training camps, and shipments so as to 
provide the required number. 24 

Under the automatic replacement plan officers in the United States 
did not wait for cabled requisitions from the AEF, but instead shipped 
a predetermined number of replacements monthly. The automatic 
replacement system appeared on paper to be an effective way of keep- 
ing units up to strength. AEF Headquarters in France did not find 
it so. By the spring of 1918, the AEF was short of replacements; 
many that it had received were not considered properly trained, and 
the United States had failed to meet the needs of the overseas forces 
for men with special qualifications. In May of 1918, the War Depart- 
ment requested that the automatic replacement system be discon- 
tinued. General Headquarters of the AEF thereafter requisitioned 
replacements in monthly cablegrams to the War Department, giving 
total numbers for each arm and service. 25 

Item Numbers 

As soon as replacements in the United States were organized into 
units, the Operations Division of the War Department General Staff 
assigned item numbers by which the units w T ere identified while on 
their way to France. These numbers prevented groups from being 
lost and helped the ports of debarkation in France to identify ship- 
ments, thereby preventing erroneous diversions. Troop units other 
than replacements received item numbers either after they were given 
a special call from France or when they were fitted into the Opera- 
tions Division's shipping schedule. 26 Item numbers for replacement 
units were followed by the letter making recognition easier. The 
AEF was furnished item numbers of troops that were to reach France 
each month ; thus headquarters was able to instruct ports of embarka- 
tion regarding the destination of each group of replacements. 

Replacement Depots and Regulating Stations 

The replacement system of the American Expeditionary Forces, 
under the organization which had been approved in March 1918, was 
to include the depot divisions, regional replacement depots, corps 
replacement battalions, and advance replacement depots in addition 
to a number of special replacement depots and base depots. 27 None 
of the regional, corps, or advance replacement depots had been formed 
at that time. The replacement depot for the Services of Supply and 
the Medical Department had been in operation at Blois since 8 J anu- 

24 War Department Annual Reports, 1919, 1, p. 266. 

25 Reports of the Commander in Chief, AEF, Staff Sections and Services, p. 144. 
28 Crowell and Wilson, op. cit., p. 261. 

27 AEF GO 46, 26 Mar 18. 



ary 1918. The Quartermaster withdrew its replacement operations 
from the other Services of Supply organizations and established its 
own replacement depot 15 May 1918. The Medical Department took 
similar action 15 July 1918. Other depots were operated for Field 
Artillery, Heavy Artillery, Engineers, Signal Corps, Quartermaster 
Corps, Air Service, Tank Corps, Chemical Warfare, and for certain 
other groups including the 369th, 370th, 37lst, and 372d Infantry 

The commanding general of the Services of Supply was responsible 
for the reception, classification, and training of replacements under 
the general supervision of General Headquarters, AEF, but the con- 
trol of the commanding general of the Services of Supply in forward- 
ing replacements and casuals terminated at the regulating stations. 
Army, corps, and division commanders assumed the responsibility for 
the regulating stations until the men reached frontline units. 

The regulating stations were links between the armies and the serv- 
ices in the rear. The regulating officer, acting under special or secret 
instructions, declared priorities in the transportation of the things the 
armies needed most, both in supplies and in men. Besides being 
charged with the continuation of normal operations, he was responsi- 
ble that emergency shipments of materials, supplies, or personnel went 
through to the units that needed them. It was necessary for him to be 
informed of conditions at both the front and at the rear. Since the 
evacuation of the wounded took place over the same railroad lines that 
carried supplies to the front, the regulating officer also had control 
over this movement. Regulating stations had to be close enough to 
all points in each zone to permit trains to leave after dark and arrive 
before dawn ; also they had to be far enough in the rear to be reasonably 
safe from capture. 

Between 2 October and 20 November 1918, about 173,000 replace- 
ments were forwarded to combat divisions. During this same period, 
First Army and Headquarters, SOS, each sent officers to the regulating 
station at St. Dizier to expedite the movement. The officer from the 
SOS received, for each train of replacements, the point and hour of 
departure, the name of the train commander, the number on board, 
and the organization to which the men were going. He then gave this 
information to the First Army representative at the regulating point 
and the latter forwarded it to First Army headquarters. First Army 
headquarters was then able to notify divisions in time for them to make 
arrangements to meet men at the railheads and forward them to proper 
organizations with the divisions. Eeplacements for divisions actually 
in the fighting line usually were held until the divisions came out of 
the line. Where this could not be done the men usually were diverted 
to other organizations. 



In October 1918, the railroad yard and regulating station at St. 
Dizier were overtaxed and it became impractical to split up trains 
there. Replacements were therefore forwarded to divisions in train- 
load lots even though original assignment lists could not be followed. 28 

Replacements sometimes were incorrectly routed because many towns 
had the same name, the location of units was not known, or units had 
moved while the replacements were en route. Errors happened most 
frequently when casuals were being returned to their former organi- 
zations. First Army furnished railroad officers with a complete list of 
units being served at each railhead in an effort to eliminate such errors. 
Similar lists were furnished to the regulating officer at Is-sur-Tille, the 
commanding general of the regional replacement depot at Revigny, 
and Gl and G4 of the Second Army. 

Unit Experiences in Receiving Replacements 

Reports made by the 42d Division in March 1918 stated that the divi- 
sion had received a number of replacements who were unable to speak 
English. The report recommended that the commander of a replace- 
ment division should be held responsible that no soldier be sent to a 
combat division unless he was mentally and physically fit to enter the 
fight and had received individual training. 29 

The commanding officer of the 23d Infantry Regiment, 2d Division, 
in June 1918 complained that the replacements received by that unit 
were untrained and that the noncommissioned officers were not as 
capable as the privates who had been trained within the regiments. 30 
The 6th Machine Gun Battalion had received a number of men who 
had had prior service but who came in as replacements. They lacked 
familiarity with machineguns, but they could be assimilated with less 
difficulty because of their past experience. 

In 17 days of almost continuous battle in the vicinity of Chateau- 
Thierry, in June 1918, the 2d Division suffered losses in killed and 
wounded of 99 officers and 4,301 enlisted men$ excluding ordinary 
sickness and many gas casualties. These figures were not considered 
excessive in view of the extent of the action. 31 The shortage of men 
in combat units at the front at that time was indicated by a 2d Divi- 
sion report which stated that 34 officers and 2,706 enlisted men, re- 
ceived as replacements by the division, were only partially trained 
and could not fill the places of that number of losses because they 
were unknown to their officers and noncommissioned officers. Gon- 

28 Report 8 of the Commander in Chief, AEF, Staff Sections and Services, p. 162. 

29 Training and Use of American Units with British and French in U. S. ARMY IN THE 
WORLD WAR, 1917-19, III (Washington, 1948), p. 684. 

30 Early Military Operations .of the American Expeditionary Forces in U. S. ARMY IN 
THE WORLD WAR, 1917-19, IV (Washington, 1948), p. 559. 

31 Ibid., p. 491. 



fusion also resulted when some of the Marine replacements were sent 
into the firing line of a Marine brigade. 

An inspection report, 9 June 1918, said replacements had joined 
a 2d Division battalion in the frontlines, but it had been difficult to 
incorporate them into platoons and squads or to use them to advan- 
tage because of combat conditions. The inspector rated them as "aver- 
age men with a fair amount of training." 32 

There were instances in which replacements gave a better account 
of themselves than was expected. On 5 August 1918, French guides, 
who had been instructed to take a group of replacements to support 
installations of the American 6th Brigade, became confused and took 
the men, who w^ere not considered sufficiently trained for frontline 
fighting, to an advanced trench instead of to the rear position they 
had been ordered to occupy. Their arrival coincided with the start 
of an enemy raid. The surprised replacements were subjected to an 
artillery barrage but they remained cool, met the attack of the raiding 
party, and drove their opponents back, killing 2 Germans while losing 
4 of their own group — 3 killed and 1 wounded. 33 

On 2 October 1918, a group of replacements for the American 370th 
Infantry arrived at the training center conducted by the French 59th 
Division, with which the American unit was serving. These men 
had been drafted in the United States in August and almost immedi- 
ately sent to France. Not only were they without arms and equip- 
ment, but they had received very little military training. 34 The divi- 
sion training center, after conducting tests, divided the new arrivals 
into groups and sent the more capable to combat units as quickly as 
possible. Longer training was given to those who were graded lower 
in the tests. 

During most of 1918 men whom AEF officers regarded as poorly 
trained were arriving in France in large numbers and commanders 
complained that untrained combat replacements threatened to weaken 
the divisions on the frontlines. Lack of proper training and equip- 
ment and the scarcity of instructors made it necessary to send into 
battle both organizations and individuals without giving them suffi- 
cient training for maximum efficiency in combat. The commanding 
general, Services of Supply, who commanded the training installa- 
tions and the depots, recommended that all combat replacements re- 
ceive "not less than 2 months training prior to their departure from 
the United States." 35 

82 Ibid,, p. 514. 

33 Military Operations of the American Expeditionary Forces, Champagne-Marne, Aisne- 
Marne in U. S. ARMY IN THE WORLD WAR, 1917-19, V (Washington, 1948), p. 616. 

3 -* Military Operations of the American Expeditionary Forces, Oise-Aisne, Ypres-Lys, 
Uittorio-Veneto in TJ. S. ARMY IN THE WORLD WAR, 1917-19, VI (Washington, 1948), 
p. 52. 

a6 Ltr, Gen J. G. Harbord to C in C, AEF, 11 Aug 18, sub: Replacements. See: Policy- 
Forming Documents, American Expeditionary Forces in U. S. ARMY IN THE WORLD 
WAR, 1917-19, II (Washington, 1948), pp. 568-69. 



Buildup of the 4th Division During a Rest Period 

The experience of the 4th Division in drawing replacements to fill 
its vacancies and in training its new men in August 1918 indicates 
that by that time some improvements had been made in the handling 
of replacements. After the fighting in the Vesle, the 4th Division 
moved to the Reynel training area near Chaumont to rest. 36 Requisi- 
tions for the number of officers and men necessary to bring each of the 
divisional organizations to full strength were sent to the adjutant's 
office, where they were consolidated and forwarded to army head- 
quarters. Replacements, upon their arrival at the railhead, were met 
by officers and escorted to the divisional replacement depot. There 
qualification cards were examined to determine former occupations 
or special skills. The first men assigned were specialists such as car- 
penters, blacksmiths, painters, cobblers, clerks, or musicians. The men 
who were not listed as having specialized skills were distributed ac- 
cording to the needs of the organizations as shown in requisitions and 
strength reports. 

Replacements, both officers and men, arrived at the division without 
undue loss of time. Most of the men who were received were regarded 
by their officers as well trained, having received instruction at their 
previous installations. They lacked frontline experience but they 
showed keen interest in the lessons which had been learned by mem- 
bers of the division who already had seen combat. 

Although it was expected that the division would have a month 
for training, events moved swiftly and orders to move were received 
31 August. By that time, some of the men who had been wounded 
in previous engagements had returned to their units. In spite of 
the reduced time for training, officers of the division believed it was 
in good shape for service at the front. 

The Engineer Center at Angers 

The 116th Engineer Regiment, on 10 December 1917 — two days after 
its arrival at St. Nazaire — was designated as a training and replace- 
ment regiment for engineer enlisted men and officers and took its sta- 
tion at Angers on 5 February 1918. Untrained recruits from Amer- 
ica, upon arriving at the station, were assigned first to provisional 
companies and later to permanent companies for instruction, quar- 
ters, and rations. Elementary recruit instruction included interior 
discipline in barracks, care and nomenclature of the rifle, personal 
hygiene, calisthenics, general orders for sentinels, school of the sol- 
dier and of the squad, along with courtesies and customs of the serv- 

w Christian Back and Henry Noble Hall, The Fdurth Division, Its Services and Achieve- 
ments in the World War (New York, 1920), pp. 132-133. 



ice. 37 During the first stage of their training, the men became profi- 
cient with pick and shovel and learned to use the ax and the crosscut 
saw, to handle an oar, and to tie simple knots. 38 

After they had completed the instruction given to recruits, the men 
were enrolled in lettered companies, conforming to tables of organ- 
ization. They then started on a course of study which was shortened 
or extended as conditions required. In this course, frontline condi- 
tions were simulated by the construction of trenches, dugouts, pits, and 
emplacements and by the use of all tools issued to the troops. Instruc- 
tion was given by a permanent corps of noncommissioned officers. 
Other classes were held for engineer specialists. Another course of 
21 lectures, extending over a 6-week period, prepared men to serve 
as noncommissioned officers. 

The primary function of this depot was to train frew recruits and 
to forward them to combat divisions, but it also handled casuals and 
men released from hospitals. Upon being sent to a base hospital a 
man was dropped from the rolls of his unit, and it was the duty of 
the Angers depot to return him to that unit or, in certain instances, 
to assign him elsewhere. The flow of hospital returnees sometimes 
exceeded 1,000 men per month. While they were in the depot they 
were given instruction similar to that given to new replacements, 
the main difference being that more stress was placed on restoring 
the men from the hospitals to good physical condition. 

An officer, upon arrival, was assigned to a so-called "cadet" com- 
pany. Selected enlisted men were trained at an officer candidate 
school operated at the depot, and those who completed the course 
were commissioned. 

Replacements, both officers and men, were carefully classified as to 
qualifications, both at the time of their arrival and at the time of 
their departure. During the last- 5 months of hostilities more than 
5,000 men per month passed through the Angers depot, which main- 
tained a reserve large enough that it could exercise care in filling 
requisitions from units in the field. By 1 January 1919, a total of 
1,350 officers and 29,000 enlisted men had passed through the depot. 

Replacement Shortages in Combat Units 

The officers of the AEF had contemplated a constant flow of replace- 
ments to France, so timed that the men could undergo short train- 
ing courses before going to the front. This policy had to be modified 
and newly arrived combat divisions were broken up to maintain the 
experienced divisions at efficient fighting strength. Thus many par- 

« AEF GO 35, 5 Mar 18, par. IX. 

& Historical Report of the Chief Engineer, AEF 1917-19 (Washington, 1919), pp. 147, 



tially trained men were employed in combat. 39 If the original replace- 
ment system had continued in operation, 14 of the 42 divisions that 
arrived in France ,would have been assigned to replacement duty. 
Actually, only 11 divisions were used in the replacement system, 7 
of which were skeletonized. 

By February 1918, the replacement system was functioning poorly. 40 
The four combat divisions of I Corps were short approximately 8,500 
officers and enlisted men while the only replacement division, the 41st, 
was short about 4,500 officers and enlisted men. It could furnish no 
replacements to combat divisions because its men were untrained, many 
being employed as labor troops or at schools. There were no men in 
France at that time who were being trained to replace the losses of the 
frontline divisions. Men who were being received from the United 
States required at least 2 months' training before they could be used as 
replacements in combat divisions. A General Staff, AEF, memoran- 
dum submitted in December 1917 recommended that none of the 32d 
Division troops, scheduled to arrive next, be diverted to functions 
other than providing replacements. But when the 32d arrived a 
month or so later, instead of functioning as a replacement division 
as intended, most of its elements were diverted to the Services of 
Supply. The remainder of the division operated as a replacement 
depot only until the German offensive in the spring of 1918 when the 
elements were reassembled for combat. On 17 April 1918, the com- 
manding general, Services of Supply, announced that there were 
only enough replacements in the depot division to fill those requisi- 
tions which already had been received from I Corps. 41 

The commitment of the 32d Division to combat removed from the 
replacement system the only division which might have served as a 
replacement and training division. One of General Pershing's staff 
officers, who opposed sending the 32d Division to the line, said : 

... if the 32d Division be continued in its normal functions as a replace- 
ment agency, four combat divisions can be maintained in active service at 
a numerical strength which will permit them to perform their function in 
the campaign with the maximum efficiency. The withdrawal from the 32d 
Division of all or a portion of its units for combat purposes will make pre- 
carious, in case of serious losses, the maintenance at proper fighting strength 
of the four other divisions engaged. 42 

By the time the 83d Division, which had been designated on 27 June 
as the 2d Depot Division, started functioning as such, there were 9 
divisions of the AEF in line, 7 others complete and in training, and 

89 Report of the First Army, AEF, 10 Aug-15 Oct 1918, (Fort Leavenworth, 1923), 1, 
p. 7. 

40 Policy-Forming Documents, American Expeditionary Forces, p. 198. 
^Reports of the Commander in Chief, AEF, Staff Sections and Services, p. 151. 
"Memo., Col. Upton Birnie, G3, GHQ, AEF for C/S, AEF, 24 Apr 18. See: Training 
and Use of American Units with British and French, pp. 653-54. 



6 were arriving. It soon became apparent that the shifting of replace- 
ment divisions to combat would result in a serious shortage of replace- 
ments unless there were increased shipments of men from the United 

In July 1918, there were 2 depot divisions, the 41st and 83d, to 
handle replacements for all troops in France. 43 The 76th Division 
did not arrive until August. Orders specified that troops arriving 
from the United States that had been designated as replacements for 
combat organizations were not to be diverted to Services of Supply 
or to any other duty except by authority from General Headquarters, 
AEF. The commanding general of the Services of Supply was pro- 
hibited from assigning officers or troops serving in base depots to duty 
outside the depots. 44 

Since replacements and training divisions were not assigned to army 
corps, there was a need for some substitute organization to receive 
replacements in the rear of the combat lines. Seven corps replace- 
ment battalions were established between June and September 1918. 
Corps or army commanders located these battalions as the tactical 
situation dictated. They were units of varying strength with as many 
provisional replacement companies as might be attached. The respon- 
sibility of the corps replacement battalions included the receipt and 
forwarding of officers and men discharged from hospitals ; the receipt 
of casuals en route to their units ; the establishment of a reserve supply 
of replacements for combat units ; the completion of the training of 
those men who were received as replacements but who were not ready 
to go immediately into combat; and the issue of supplies and equip- 
ment to officers and men who were on their way to combat divisions. 45 
These battalions continued in existence until they were absorbed by the 
regional replacement depots. 

By August 1918, the shortage of American replacements was serious. 
Divisions had arrived in France below strength, and each division 
that had been diverted from replacement to combat duty had increased 
the number of divisions to be supplied and at the same time decreased 
the supply of manpower available to the replacement system. On 
16 August, General Pershing cabled the War Department: 

Attention is especially invited to the very great shortage in arrivals of 
replacements heretofore requested. Situation with reference to replacements 
is now very acute. Until sufficient replacements are available in France 
to keep our proven divisions at full strength, replacements should by all means 
be sent in preference to new divisions. 46 

43 AEF GO 111, 8 Jul 18, par. I, p. 3. 

44 Ibid., par. II, p. 4. 

■» War Department Annual Reports, 1919, 1, p. G15. 

346Z25 O - 55 - 15 



On 26 August, General Pershing again cabled the War Depart- 
ment, pointing out that 5 out of 6 replacement divisions had been used 
for combat. The commanding general, SOS, opposed the establish- 
ment of any more depots, believing all available men should be used 
as replacements. The War Department on 31 August 1918 approved 
the omission of training divisions from subsequent corps organiza- 
tions but continued 1 base division for each 6 combat divisions. The 
original two-echelon replacement system became a one-echelon 
system. 47 

At this time it become necessary to transfer 2,000 men from each 
of three combat divisions (7th, 36th, and 81st) to the First Army in 
preparation for the St. Mihiel offensive. Men were being speeded 
from ports to f rontlines within 5 or 6 days. On 12 September, the 
First American Army, under the personal direction of General Per- 
shing, launched the attack on St. Mihiel and within 24 hours had 
pinched off that heavily fortified salient which had stood through 4 
years of war. The elimination of this salient, which had menaced east- 
ern France, relieved the pressure on Verdun and madet possible further 
advances north of that city. 

A number of defects appeared in the operation of the corps replace- 
ment battalions. These small units frequently found it difficult to 
handle large detachments of replacements which were likely to arrive 
at divisional railheads on the eve of entry into combat. Divisions 
were shifted from one corps to another so often that they usually were 
hard to locate. Men sometimes had to march long distances across 
country to reach their designated units. The replacement battalions 
were lacking in flexibility. 48 Men with minor injuries were being sent 
to depot divisions far in the rear for medical treatment, and it took 
a long time for them to return to the front. Hospital facilities were 
needed nearer to the combat lines. 

First Army on 8 September 1918 ordered each corps replacement 
battalion to designate a replacement company for each division. The 
replacement company was instructed to follow when the division was 
transferred from one corps to another. Regulating officers were in- 
formed when changes were made in unit assignment so that they could 
route replacements to their proper destinations. The 4th and 6th 
depota established regional replacement depots in the forward areas. 

By the time the Meuse-Argonne offensive was initiated, late in 
September 1918, the replacement situation had become still more acute. 
The infantry and machinegun units of the 84th and 86th Divisions, 
then in the vicinity of Bordeaux, were utilized as replacements, leav- 
ing only a cadre of 2 officers and 25 men for each company. 

47 Reports of the Commander in Chief, AEF, Staff Sections and Services, p. ll'o. 
*»Kpt, Committee No. 5, AWC, 1933-34, sub: Replacements. NWC Library 401-405. 
National War College. 



Some 25,000 replacements were transferred through the 1st and 2d 
depots. This movement was particularly difficult because some of 
the men carrying Model 1917 rifles were going to divisions armed with 
the Model 1903 rifle. At the depots hot meals were served, rifles ex- 
changed if necessary, gas masks checked, and the 18 trains were under 
way again within an average of an hour. The replacements arrived 
at the front in time to take part in vital operations. 49 

Early in October, the combat units required 80,000 men, but not 
more than 45,000 were in prospect before 1 November. Although 
efforts were made to recover the 2 divisions serving with the French 
and the 2 with the British, it was necessary to send the 37th and 91st 
Divisions to assist the French Sixth Army in Flanders, making 6 di- 
visions assigned to Allied Armies. The II Corps reported the 27th 
Division as short 4,000 men, the 30th Division about 1,000 men. 50 
The corps complained in October that these 2 divisions had received 
no replacements since they arrived in France in May. Efficient opera- 
tion of the divisions was being hampered by lack of officers and, the 
message stated, 100 officers were needed to replace casualties and of- 
ficers attending schools. Both the 27th and 30th Divisions were with- 
drawn from the forward areas from 1 October until 5 October. The 
shortage of medical personnel in the 27th Division resulted in detail- 
ing 200 litter bearers from line units. 51 

On 3 October, the following cable was sent to the War Department : 

Over 50,000 of the replacements requested 'for the months of July, August, 
and September have not yet arrived. Due to extreme seriousness of the re- 
placement situation, it is necessary to utilize personnel of the 84th and 86th 
Divisions for replacement purposes. Combat divisions are short over 80,000 
men. Vitally important that all replacements due, including 55,000 requested 
for October, be shipped early in October. If necessary some divisions in 
United States should be stripped of trained men and such men shipped as re- 
placements at once. 

The authorized strength of divisions was reduced in October by 
4,000 men, the strength of each infantry company thus being lowered 
to approximately 174 men. 52 The combat divisions in France at that 
time needed 119,690 replacements, of which 95,303 were infantry, 
8,210 machine gunners, and 9,475 field artillery, with only 66,490 in- 
fantry machine gunners who would be available as replacements with- 
in a reasonable time. Experience convinced AEF officers that the 
forward echelon in the replacement system would function better 
under army control, that it should have a fixed location, assume 

Reports of the Commander in Chief, AEF, Staff Sections and Services, p. 149. 
50 Military Operations of the American Expeditionary Forces, Somme Offensive in TJ. S 
AKMY IN THE WORLD WAR, 1917-19, VII (Washington, 1948), p. 258. 
» md } p. 344. 

w Report of the Commander in Chief, AEF, Staff Sections and Services, pt 1, vol. XII, 
p. 149. 



responsibility for a given area, be large enough to hold 15,000 
to 20,000 men, and that it should approximate the size and be able 
to perform the functions which previously had been conceived for 
the then defunct forward replacement divisions. 53 By the end of 
October, First Army had determined that an organization to handle 
replacements was needed closer to the front than the regional depots 
or the corps replacement battalions. 

The 6th Depot Division, less 2 regiments of infantry and 2 ma- 
chinegun battalions, established the First Army regional replace- 
ment depot at Revigny. The division also established depots at 
Saleux, near Amiens, and .at Chelles, near Paris. The 4th Depot 
Division established a regional replacement depot at Chaudenay, 
near Toul. These depots did not get into full operation, for work on 
them was stopped after the Armistice was signed. They were in- 
tended to forward hospital evacuees and stragglers to combat divi- 
sions and to eliminate some of the difficulties that had developed in 
the replacement battalions. 

A cable, 2 November, inviting the attention of the War Depart- 
ment to the fact that a total of 140,000 replacements would be due by 
the end of November, closed by saying : 

To send over entire divisions, which liiust be broken up on their arrival in 
France so we may obtain replacements that have not been sent as called 
for, is a wasteful method, and one that makes for inefficiency; but as re- 
placements are not otherwise available, there is no other course open to us. 
New and only partially trained divisions cannot take the place of older di- 
visions that have had battle experience. The latter must be kept numerical- 
ly to the point of efficiency. 

That was the situation at the end of the war. 

Casuals and stragglers for the occupation forces in Germany were 
forwarded by the Third Army Replacement Battalion, which started 
functioning at Treves, Germany, 5 December 1918. The 1st Replace- 
ment Depot, organized at St. Aignan-Noyers (Loir-et-Cher), 18 
December 1918, assumed the functions of the 1st (41st) Depot Divi- 
sion, thereby enabling the 41st Division to return to the United 
States. The 1st Replacement Depot also served as a reservoir for 
casuals ordered to return to the United States. 54 As other replace- 
ment depots were discontinued, their functions were transferred to 
the 1st Replacement Depot. 

88 Alexander, op. cit., pp. 27—28. 
84 AEF GO 242, 30 Dec 18, par. VI. 



The 3d and 6th Divisions shipped for each corps were to be assigned 
to the replacement echelon, but only one division, the 41st, could be 
spared for replacement duty until the latter part of June 1918. It 
continued as a replacement division until after the Armistice. The 
T6th Division functioned as a depot division from 3 August 1918 until 
7 November 1918. The 32d, 39th, 40th, 83d, 85th, and 35th Divisions 
operated in the replacement system for varied periods. The 31st 
Division was designated a depot division but never functioned as such. 
The 34th, 38th, 84th, and 86th Divisions and the 4th, 55th, and 57th 
Pioneer Infantry Regiments were broken up on arrival in France and 
the units reassigned through the 1st and 2d Depot Divisions. The 
8th Division was never designated a replacement division, but some 
of its elements were used in the operation of the replacement system. 

The 8th Division 

The 8th Division was organized in December 1917 at Camp Fre- 
mont. The following August the division provided 100 officers and 
5,000 enlisted men for the Siberian Expeditionary Force under Maj. 
Gen. William S. Graves, who was relieved as 8th Division commander 
for the assignment to this new command. 1 The 319th Engineers sailed 
for Europe 25 September 1918 followed by division headquarters 
and the headquarters of the 16th Infantry Brigade, the 8th Infantry 
Regiment, and the 8th Field Artillery Brigade. The other compo- 
nents of the division remained at Camp Mills. On 10 November 1918, 
the division commander took command of Base Section No. 5, SOS, at 
Brest. The 8th Infantry moved to the Coblenz bridgehead in July 
1919 as part of the occupation army known as the "American Forces 
in Germany"; the other elements were returned to the States. The 
8th Division was not designated as a replacement division, but the 
employment of some of its elements at Brest involved it in the opera- 
tion of the replacement system and made possible the relief of some 
of the regular replacement units. 

1 Order of Battle . . AEF Divisions, p. 109. 




The 32d Division 

Advance elements of the 32d Division landed at Brest 24 January 
1918, and on 4 February 1918 the division was designated as the 
Replacement Division, I Corps, thus providing for the second echelon 
of the replacement system. Its headquarters was located at the 10th 
(Prauthoy) Training Area and was under administrative control of 
I Corps. During March, the division selected 7,000 of its own mem- 
bers as replacements, including all of the 128th Infantry up to and 
including the grade of captain, and forwarded them to the 1st Divi- 
sion. Then the 32d Division temporarily went to the Services of Sup- 
ply because there was a critical shortage of men in the rear areas. 

In the latter part of March, steps were taken to reconstitute the 
division as a combat unit, and infantry and machinegun troops that 
had been on duty with the SOS rejoined. On 10 April, the division 
transferred its replacement functions to the 41st Division and ceased 
to exist as a replacement division. On 14 May, the division (less artil- 
lery and engineers) moved to the vicinity of Rougemont in the area 
of the French Seventh Army and from there went to the front. 2 

It was expected that after the emergency at the front the 32d Divi- 
sion would reurn to the replacement system, but the emergency never 
passed and the 32d remained in combat until the fighting was over. 

The 40th Division 

The 40th Division arrived in France in August 1918 after brief 
training in England and was designated as the 6th Depot Division at 
Le Guerche-sur-PAubois and vicinity. During September, the divi- 
sion was reduced by sending 7,500 men as replacements to the 28th, 
32d, and 77th Divisions; training cadres were formed, and the first 
replacements, from the United States were received. On 15 October, 
the division established a classification camp with a capacity of 5,000 
and within a month it had returned 11,000 former hospital cases to 
their organizations. By 23 October, a total of 16,327 replacements 
had teen forwarded. 

The 158th Infantry and the 144th Machine Gun Battalion of the 
40th Division moved to Chelles on 30 October 1918 and formed the 
Advance Regional Replacement Depot for the First Army, absorb- 
ing the III Corps Replacement Battalion on 4 November. On 31 
October, the 159th Infantry and the 143d Machine Gun Battalion 
formed a Regional Replacement Depot in the vicinity of Saleux for 
the II Corps, and this depot subsequently absorbed the II Corps 
Replacement Battalion. The I and V Corps Replacement Battal- 

2 Ibid. All Information presented here regarding replacement divisions is taken from 
this source unless otherwise indicated. 



ions joined on 7 November to form an Advance Replacement Depot 
at Grange-le-Comte, and on 8 November a Regional Replacement 
Depot at Revigny was established. The division also operated a 
temporary classification camp with a daily capacity of 700 men in 
order to return men released from hospitals and stragglers to First, 
Second, and Third Armies and to equip men going on leave from 
combat divisions. On 5 December, replacement battalions were organ- 
ized for First and Third Armies at Contrisson and for Second Army 
at Chelles. Units at Revigny, Chelles, and Saleux Avere relieved in 
order to return to the United States on 14 December. By 6 January 
1919, the units from the Revigny area had joined parts of the former 
depot division at Beautiran in the Bordeaux area and were assisting 
in the processing of 8,800 casuals who were on their way to the United 
States. The troops of the 40th Division started returning to the 
United States on 6 March 1919. 

The 41st Division 

The 41st Division was designated the Replacement Division, I 
Corps, on 8 December 1917 — -the first division to be so designated. 
Its leading elements arrived at St. Nazaire on 11 December and estab- 
lished a depot in the vicinity of St. Aignan and Xoyers from which 
about 2,800 replacements were forwarded to other units. On 15 
January 1918, the division was redesignated as the Base and Train- 
ing Division, I Corps. 3 

The infantry brigades of the 41st Division furnished units for duty 
at schools and in the line of communications. Two of the regiments 
of artillery became corps artillery, while batteries of the other artil- 
lery regiment were placed on duty at the schools. The ammunition 
train was employed on remount work. The 116th Engineers went 
to Angers and formed an engineer replacement depot; a portion of 
the 66th Field Artillery Brigade went to La Courtine where it func- 
tioned from February until June as a field artillery replacement unit. 

During February and March the divisional area from St. Aignan and 
Noyers was divided into five administrative districts. A classifica- 
tion camp and a salvage plant were established in the area and schools 
were opened for the training of specialists. Infantry training bat- 
talions were organized and a systematic training program was devel- 

On 5 March 1918, the 41st Division was redesignated as the Depot 
Division, I Corps, and from 11 April until early in August the divi- 
sion, in addition to carrying on its duties as a depot division, func- 
tioned as a replacement division for the entire AEF. (The 83d Divi- 
sion assumed a part of these duties when it became the 2d Depot 

a AEF, GO 9, 15 Jan 18. 



Division.) The Special Training Battalion, 26th Infantry Division, 
which had been formed to give additional training and to rehabili- 
tate men released from hospitals but not ready for combat, became 
a part of the depot in April 1918. Although hampered by lack of 
equipment this battalion received and reassigned several thousand 
men. 4 

On 13 July 1918, the 41st Division became the 1st Depot Division, 
AEF, and in September it was directing 4 infantry regiments, 3 
machinegun battalions, 1 supply train, 1 ammunition train, 10 schools, 
and some troops of the Marine Corps, all engaged in training and 
forwarding replacements. In November, a squadron of cavalry was 
added, and on 8 November the division received the personnel of the 
3d (76th Division) and 5th (39th Division) Depots for disposal as 
replacements. During its operations in France, the 41st Division 
organized 41 depot labor companies, 51 prisoner of war escort com- 
panies, 40 casual companies, leave area detachments, and a number 
of other units. It forwarded 185,811 replacements and returned 
.102,461 casuals to their organizations. 

Because there was no recognized replacement system in operation, 
the 1st Replacement Depot was required to develop its own system for 
handling replacements, and the methods it adopted were copied in the 
other five depot divisions organized by the AEF. 5 The classification 
camp determined the qualifications of men, many of whom were 
arriving from the United States without sufficient records to be used 
as guides for their assignments. Beginning with the latter part of 
1918 the installations in the United States were more efficient in the 
preparation of classification records and less of the burden fell on the 
overseas depots. 

Experiences of the 1st Depot Division indicated that a replacement 
depot functioned more efficiently if it remained stationary and sup- 
ported troops in a given area rather than remaining with a designated 
corps which was likely to move frequently. The regrouping to meet 
the expected German offensive in the spring of 1918 caused the Amer- 
ican high command to place the 1st Replacement Depot at St. Aignan- 
Noyers rather than at the school center at Gondrecourt which first 
was selected for a location. 6 

After the Armistice was signed, the chief function of the 1st Re- 
placement Depot was to receive men who would not return to the 
United States with organizations and to form them into casual com- 
panies for the trip across the ocean. On 26 December 1918, the 1st 
Depot Division was abolished and the 41st Division was re-created by 
the reassignment of the original units. 

4 Ibid. 

6 Hist Rpt, 1st Repl Depot, 13 Jun 19. 
Depots), 198-11. National Archives. 
6 Ibid. 

WD Historical Collection, Box 458 (Repl 



The 83d Division 

Troops of the 83d Division arrived in Le Hav,re and Cherbourg 
during the latter part of June 1918. On 27 June, the division was 
designated the 2d Depot Division serving IV Corps and was con- 
centrated in the Le Mans area. The depot controlled administratively 
the areas of La Suze, Laigne-en-Belin, Econmoy, Conlie, and Mayet. 
The division handled 195,221 replacements, officers and men, drawn 
from personnel from the United States and casuals at large. These 
men were trained for the infantry including machinegun units, am- 
munition trains, and supply trains. During October of 1918, the 
camps reached a maximum size when there were 45,000 troops in the 
area. Units of the division not used at the depot were otherwise 
assigned and took part in a number of combat operations. 

.The 85th Division 

On 11 August 1918, the 85th Division, which had just arrived in 
France, was designated as the 1th Depot Division, and a few days 
later it became the Depot Division, Intermediate Section, SOS. Cer- 
tain of its units were detached for the Russian expedition and for 
corps and army troops. It operated establishments in the vicinity of 
Pouilly-sur-Loire, Sancerre, and Cosne where it received, trained, 
equipped, and forwarded officer and enlisted replacements. Until 
24 October, when it was redesignated the Regional Replacement Depot 
for Second Army and moved to the vicinity of Toul, it had forwarded 
3,948 replacements. At Toul, it absorbed the corps replacement bat- 
talions, and its various organizations operated regional replacement 
subdepots for all arms and services handling casuals and men evac- 
uated from hospitals. It was relieved by a provisional battalion on 
9 December. 

In April of 1920, Maj. Gen. C. TV". Kennedy, who commanded the 
85th Division in France, wrote to the War Department, stressing the 
need for a reserve of men from which replacement could be drawn. 7 
In support of this proposal, General Kennedy gave the following 
account of the activities of the 85th Division while it was serving 
as a replacement division : 

... On arrival of the 85th Division in England, one regiment of infantry, 
one battalion of engineers, one field hospital and one ambulance company were 
detached for duty in North Russia with British troops. En route to station 
in France a battalion of infantry was detached for duty at a tank school. The 
artillery brigade and ammunition train were sent to an artillery training center 
and were not used for replacements. Shortly after arriving at stations in 
France the remainder of the engineer regiment and the Signal Corps battalion 

T Ltr, Hq Panama Canal Dist, 2 Apr 20, sub : Collection of Historical Information. WD 
Historical Collection, Box 50, 7-12.3. National Archives. 



were sent to the front. This left the division commander, the division head- 
quarters troop, the military police, the supply train, the remainder of the 
sanitary units, one full brigade of infantry, one brigade of infantry (less one 
regiment and one battalion), and the machinegun battalions. 

Almost immediately calls were made for large numbers of officers and men 
from the infantry and machinegun organizations to be sent to combat divisions 
which had been much depleted by the operations in the Marne salient. Instruc- 
tions were received to retain in infantry and machinegun companies only three 
officers and fifty men per company to be used in training replacements. The 
organizations were billeted in a number of small towns, providing billets for 
from a company to a battalion each, and covering an area of about 25 miles 
by 10. My orders were to use the 1st Replacement Division as a model in 
organizing and operating, This required the accumulation of a large amount 
of supplies with provision for their storage, the construction of a cantonment 
for a classification camp capable of quartering 2,000 men, hiring ground for 
training, including small arms target ranges, in a thickly populated section in 
which nearly all the land was under cultivation. Under the circumstances 
these preliminary preparations took about 2 months, and the Division was 
just about prepared to function when the replacement policy was again 

The new policy contemplated the assignment of two of the replacement 
divisions as Regional Replacement Depots for the First and Second Armies 
respectively. These depots were to absorb the corps depot battalions. The 
40th Division was assigned to the First Army, with station near its head- 
quarters, and the 85th Division was first assigned to a French Cantonment 
about 4 miles from Toul. The Armistice came before these Regional Replace- 
ment Depots could begin to function as such and thereafter they were used 
for the reception and distribution of casuals. 

The 31st Division 

When the elements of the 31st Division, which had been designated 
as a depot division, started arriving in France in October 1918, six 
divisions were already functioning as depot divisions. The Chief of 
Staff did not believe that another depot division was necessary. 8 
Because of the serious shortage of replacements, the infantry and 
machinegun units of the 31st Division, immediately upon their arrival, 
were sent to the depots where they received training as replacements 
and then were used to fill replacement requisitions. # One officer from 
each company or similar unit remained to care for organization 

The 34th Division 

The 34th Division was moved overseas between 20 August and 24 
October 1918. Orders issued 17 October provided for the skeletoniza- 
tion of the division upon arrival at the Labrede training area, and by 
29 October it was determined that the division would not be recon- 
stituted. It was then ordered to reduce to a cadre which would keep 

8 Reports of the Commanders in Chief* AEF, Staff Sections and Services, p. 148. 



records. The units were transferred to the 2d Depot Division at 
Le Mans, where they were broken up and the men distributed to other 

The 38th Division 

Advance elements of the 38th Division arrived at Brest 28 Septem- 
ber 1918, and by 25 October the last units had reached France. On 29 
October, the division was ordered reduced to a record cadre and surplus 
troops were reassigned through the 2d Depot Division. 

The 39th Division 

The 39th Division, which arrived in France in August of 1918, func- 
tioned as the 5th Depot Division near Bourges from 3 September un- 
til 29 October. The 114th Engineers and 114th Field Signal Battalion 
were assigned as army and corps troops, and the infantry units were 
reduced to training cadres whose duties were to receive, train, equip, 
and forward replacements, including both officers and men. While it 
was operating as a depot the division forwarded 10,156 replacements. 
It also operated a classification camp. Artillery, engineer, machine- 
gun, signal, and medical units of the division, which were not used 
in the operation of the depot, participated in various engagements 
while assigned to other higher units. On 2 November, the 39th Divi- 
sion moved to St. Aignan-Noyers where it was skeletonized, and the 
men thus made surplus were used as replacements. 

The 76th Division 

On 3 August 1918, the 76th Division was reorganized and became 
the 3d Depot Division. The 7,000 men who were left over from the 
reorganized units were reassigned as replacements. While function- 
ing as a depot, the 76th Division forwarded 19,971 officers and men. 
On 7 Xovember, the depot organization of the division was discon- 
tinued and the re-formed division absorbed the depot personnel — the 
151st Infantry Brigade, 152d Infantry Brigade, 301st Machine Gun 
Battalion, 301st Train Headquarters, and Military Police. The divi- 
sion then moved into the area of the 1st Depot Division (41st Division) 
at St. Aignan-Xoyers where the units were skeletonized, a record cadre 
of 11 officers and 84 men was formed, and the surplus personnel re- 
assigned as replacements. Detached units continued to serve with 
other organizations. 

The 84th Division 

The movement of the 84th Division overseas took place between 
August and October 1918. On 9 October, the division was ordered 



skeletonized, and about 10,000 men from the infantry were transferred 
to the 1st Depot Division for use as replacements. Another group was 
sent to the 2d Depot Division. 

The 86th Division 

On 3 October, the 86th Division, which had started its movement 
overseas in September, was ordered skeletonized. It immediately 
transferred about 7,500 men from its rifle companies to the 2d Depot 
Division for replacement purposes and assigned the 311th Engineers 
to duty with the SOS. On 20 October, the division transferred 1,200 
men from its machinegun units to the 2d Depot Division, and on 9 
November the 311th Field Signal Battalion went to the Signal Corps 
Replacement Depot at Cour-Cheverny. 

The 4th, 55th, and 57th Pioneer Infantry 

Three regiments of white pioneer infantry, the 4th, 55th, and 57th, 
which had been scheduled to form parts of the 96th, 99th, and 100th 
Infantry Divisions respectively, were broken up, and the troops, who 
were untrained, passed through the 2d Depot Division. 9 

9 Ibid., p. lie. 


The United States entered World War I Avithout any precedent for 
an organized personnel replacement system, but it was during World 
War I that the replacement system, as later defined in military termi- 
nology, was developed. In the Civil War, the States and later the 
Federal recruiting service had sent recruits directly to the regiments, 
but a number of depots for receiving recruits were formed shortly 
before the end of the war. The War with Spain did not bring 
about any great demand for personnel replacements from the units 
in combat. The National Defense Act of 1916 provided for training 
battalions for recruits, and the Act of 18 May 1917 gave the President 
the power to establish such recruit-training units as he might find 

Before the United States entered World War I the replacement 
problem had become an important factor for the armies operating 
in Europe. The Allied appeals for men to replace heavy battle losses 
impressed American military planners with the importance of replace- 
ments. The War Department General Staff attempted to provide 
replacements by organizing depot brigades within the National Army 
cantonments similar to the recruit depots which had served the peace- 
time Army. Since there was no definite replacement system the depot 
brigades offered the only possible means then in existence for receiv- 
ing, training, and forwarding replacements to units. 

When mobilization started it was assumed that divisions would be 
localized, but later it was found desirable to transfer men from the 
camps near their homes to Regular Army, National Guard, and Na- 
tional Army divisions in other parts of the country. Soon thereafter 
the depot brigades ceased to be identified with single divisions and 
tended to become permanent camp organizations. As such, they were 
used more as reservoirs in which transients were stored and in which 
men who were not ready for active service could be trained. 

The depot brigades had been intended to furnish replacements to 
the divisions to which they were attached, a plan which might have 
worked had all branches of the service represented in a division main- 
tained proportional sections in the depot brigade. When such repre- 
sentation was lacking, the depot brigades did not train enough men to 
fill all the qualifications desired by all arms and services. Devel- 




opment battalions formed within the depot brigades attempted to 
increase the supply of replacements by training illiterates and non- 
English-speaking men. 

Depot brigade officials soon found it necessary to devote so much 
time to the reception of men, the preparation of records, the admin- 
istering of intelligence and trade tests, and to the performance of 
other tasks that they had little time for the training of recruits. The 
details involved in the reception, classification, immunization, and 
assignment of enlisted men finally became so complex that they took 
up all the time of the officers and men who were operating the depot 
brigades, with the result that those agencies took on the characteristics 
of reception centers rather than training establishments. 

Mechanization of the Army and the development of new weapons 
and materiel increased the need for men with special skills. It was 
important that skilled men be taken into the Army with as little 
disruption as possible, an aim which frequently could be achieved 
through the calling of Reserves to duty. The experience of officers in 
the Transportation Corps, for instance, demonstrated that there was 
no need to obtain a new crew when a vessel sailing under the American 
flag was placed under the Army Transport Service. Members of the 
regular crew could be enrolled in the Army Reserve and mustered into 
the service along with the vessel, so that few, if any, replacements 
would be needed. The War Department General Staff began to give 
more thought to the organization of Reserve units. 

The fear of foreign agents caused the Intelligence Division of the 
War Department General Staff to form a Morale Section which was 
intended to assure loyalty among alien soldiers, especially those who 
spoke only foreign languages. Experience soon revealed that the 
problem of morale extended beyond the aliens and included all troops. 
Consequently, the morale service became a Gl staff function dealing 
not only with loyalty but with all the elements that might increase 
human effectiveness. It was the forerunner of the special services 
which later was to receive great emphasis in the military organization. 

Inability of the Regular Army and National Guard units to provide 
their own fillers caused so many men to be diverted from the National 
Army that depot brigades were unable to train the number of replace- 
ments required. The first divisions to leave for overseas were brought 
to strength by transfers from divisions in training. The War Plans 
Division of the War Department General Staff recommended that 
replacements be obtained by breaking up entire divisions, or at least 
by drawing men from as few divisions as possible. A minority report 
by one officer of that staff division recommended that men be drawn 
proportionately from all available divisions in training. 1 This recom- 

1 Note for record dtd 28 Dec 18. WD Historical Collection, Box 50, 7-12.3, 82-1473. 
National Archives. 



mendation was approved by the Chief of Staff, with the result that all 
of the early divisions which went overseas contained about 25 percent 
recruits. The shortage of replacements became so serious that divi- 
sions in training were stripped of men or were skeletonized to obtain 
replacements for combat divisions. Field commanders complained 
that this process of stripping divisions of men resulted in inefficiency 
and brought discouragement to the men. 

After the National Army divisions departed for overseas their 
camps were available for other units. It was in these camps that the 
first replacement training centers were formed with the mission of 
training men to replace combat losses. The replacement training 
centers superseded the depot brigades. 

By August of 1918, a definite replacement system had been estab- 
lished in theory. Training camps were being organized in the United 
States and provided with the equipment they needed, although much 
of that equipment was in such condition that the greater part of the 
summer was spent in getting it ready for service. Officers who had 
served overseas were coming back to give instruction in the schools. 
Cadres were becoming more efficient, and a 12-day training program 
was adopted. 

The automatic replacement drafts, devised by the War Depart- 
ment, were intended to furnish each month the equivalent of the 
estimated casualties for the following month. But the AEF was still 
drawing men from training divisions and from the Services of Supply 
to obtain the replacements needed for its combat units. There was 
a constant demand for as many men as could be sent overseas, irrespec- 
tive of their state of training. The men who were called under the 
automatic replacement draft during July had received scarcely 2 
weeks of actual training before their departure for overseas; and 
similar conditions continued during August and September. 

Facilities established by ports of embarkation to care for casuals 
going overseas developed into embarkation depots and became an- 
other link in the replacement system. 

Replacement divisions, two for each corps, which were intended to 
receive, train, and forward replacements after they arrived overseas, 
were either committed to combat or skeletonized, a practice that made 
it necessary to improvise new replacement installations to operate in 
Europe. The experience overseas during World War I brought out 
the necessity for furnishing combat units with properly trained men 
who could be taken into units which were not in immediate contact 
with the enemy. Officers in the AEF learned the importance of re- 
turning those men who had recovered from disease or injury to their 
units without undue loss of time. 

[Table 10 shows battle casualties and replacements furnished for 
each division during World War I.] 



Table 10. — Battle Casualties, Replacements, and Strengths of Combat Divisions 

in Action During World War I* 

Combat division 

Battle casual- 
ties 6 Apr 
1917-11 Nov 
1918 1 


1 May- 
13 Nov 1918 2 































93d 3 

239, 124 

22, 320 

11, 746 
15, 401 

12, 820 
9, 116 


1, 709 

13, 664 
8, 334 

14, 139 

5, 570 

13, 261 

6, 864 

7, 296 

2, 584 

5, 387 

14, 683 
10, 194 

7, 144 

6, 874 

6, 029 
1, 104 

8, 077 


7, 091 
7, 549 
6, 108 
1, 647 

3 3, 534 

305, 819 

30, 206 
35, 343 
24, 033 
19, 559 
12, 611 
2, 784 

4, 112 
14, 411 

5, 255 
21, 717 

4, 977 

2, 384 
20, 140 

5, 415 
10, 605 

3, 397 

6, 282 
17, 253 
12, 728 

3, 190 

6, 246 

4, 495 

1, 984 
8, 402 


7, 669 
4, 437 

12, 530 

2, 920 
( 3 ) 

1 Excludes 4,962 battle casualties in depot divisions and nondivisional units. 

2 Data not available on replacements furnished before 1 May 1918. Men returned to the line from hospi 
tals were counted as replacement troops although they usually returned to their former divisions. 

3 Incomplete as a division, lacking artillery and other units. Its headquarters ceased to function after 
15 May 1918 and its 4 infantry regiments served with the French. Number of replacements received in 
these regiments is unknown. 

* Source: Battle casualties are from the Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1926, pp. 193-217. Replace- 
ments and strengths are from Gl, AEF, Report No. 53, "Reports of Replacements Sent Overseas," 20 Nov 
18, 7-12.3, WD Historical Collection, Box 50, National Archives. 



Army Reorganization 

With the exception of the occupation troops in Germany, the emer- 
gency Army returned to the United States as rapidly as possible after 
the Armistic of 11 November 1918. The National Army and National 
Guard divisions prepared for demobilization and seven Regular Army 
divisions were concentrated in cantonments pending reorganization. 
It was impossible to bring together the 50,000 or so men who had 
been in the Regular Army before the war and who, at the close of 
the conflict, were thinly scattered throughout the forces. Even if 
these prew^ar soldiers could have been concentrated in the permanent 
units, there would not have been enough of them to fill the organi- 
zations to effective strength. The discharge of a considerable num- 
ber of the temporary soldiers was contingent upon their replacement 
by men voluntarily enlisting in the Regular Army, but Congress did 
not authorize a resumption of enlistments until 28 February 1919. 
Both general service and regimental recruiting was resumed, with 
the period of enlistment either 1 or 3 years at the option of the sol- 
dier. One-year enlistments were tried as a means of reducing deser- 
tions, but subsequent experience indicated short enlistments had little 
value for that purpose. 1 By 30 June 1920, about 2,056,83*5 soldiers 
had been returned from Europe and demobilization was practically 
completed. By February 1921, the Army had established a record 
by enlisting 359,857 recruits. 

The first plan for the postwar military organization called for a 
Regular Army of half a million men, a Reserve Army of a million 
men, and universal military training. Congress, in May 1919, decided 
these plans were too ambitious and too expensive. 2 

A special War Department committee in June 1920 recommended 
typical army, corps, and divisional organizations for both peace and 
war. The peacetime organization became 9 Regular Army divisions, 
with additional corps and army troops; 18 National Guard divisions 
and auxiliaries; and 27 Organized Reserve divisions. 3 The Regular 

1 War Department Annual Reports, 1920, I, p. 15. 

2 Annual Report of the Chief of Staff, 1920, p. 18. 
s Annual Report of the Chief of Staff, 1921, p. 12. 

346225 O - 55 - 16 




divisions with auxiliary troops were to constitute a trained and 
equipped field army. 

The Kegular Army and National Guard divisions were intended 
to provide the combat elements of three field armies and were expected 
to meet any minor emergency without seriously interfering with 
peacetime civilian activities. Additional troops, when needed, were 
to come from the Organized Reserve divisions. 

The 6 territorial departments were abolished during the summer 
of 1920, and 9 corps areas, each containing 1 Regular Army division, 
2 National Guard divisions, and the nucleus of 3 Organized Reserve 
divisions, were formed. Boundaries were so located that all corps 
areas were about equal in population available for military service. 
On 9 August 1932, the War Department established four field armies 
to provide the tactical commands lacking under the original corps 
area organization. 4 

Democracy and Education 

The War Department was anxious to make the "New Army" dem- 
ocratic. On 18 February 1920, Secretary of War Newton D. Baker 
in a letter to Gen. Peyton C. March, Chief of Staff, called attention 
to the need for considerate and thoughtful treatment of the enlisted 
men on their arrival at their first permanent stations. 5 Secretary 
Baker said : 

In a vast majority of cases these young men are going through their first 
experience away from home. Their minds are peculiarly open to impressions 
which may be and frequently are lasting. . . . 

These remarks are not made to the end that the recruit should be either cod- 
dled or petted. ... he should be . . . subjected to the hardening and dis- 
ciplining influences of Army life and his manliness and self control de- 
veloped. . . . 

The treatment of the new soldier must be based on the human element 
much more than has been the case in the past. We have given our pledge 
that the new Army shall be a really democratic institution. . . . 

Recruits should invariably be met at the station, no matter what the hour, 
. . . preferably by a commissioned officer ... a hot meal should be prepared 
and waiting for them. . . . They should then, if not assigned, be assigned as 
promptly as may be, and not left in the peculiarly homeless and forlorn con- 
dition of unassigned recruits at camp or regimental headquarters. They 
should be conducted to their own organization and be given an opportunity 
to dispose of their effects, settle themselves in their new quarters, and secure 
a good night's rest. They should then be personally interviewed, collec- 
tively, by the organization commander and given a talk which will convey to 
them the feeling that they have reached their military home; that though 
under military discipline and subject to orders, they are nevertheless among 
and under friends and members of the same honorable profession. They 

4 Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1933, p. 12. 
6 Copy of letter appears in WD GO 12, 28 Feb 20. 



must be made to feel that the organization to which they belong has an hon- 
orable past and present. . . . 

No greater mistake can be made at this initial interview than to adopt an 
austere or unapproachable or bullying tone with threats of dire punishment 
for military misdemeanors as yet unknown to the recruit even by name. . . . 

The chaplain should assemble all recruits as soon after their arrival as is 
conveniently possible. . . . An important point to be taken up at this time 
by the chaplain is an inquiry into home relations . , . and the encourage- 
ment of the recruit to write to his home frequently. . . . The best oppor- 
tunity for such a talk occurs in the evening; and the surroundings are of im- 
portance. It should not, for instance, be given in the barracks where other 
men are about. . . . 

The instructions of the recruit should then be placed in the hands of an 
officer or noncommissioned officer particularly suited to this work. The driv- 
ing drillmaster, whose reputation is based on his ability to impart a maxi- 
mum of military snap and finish to his drill in the minimum of time, is not 
always the best man" for this work. Unless he has, in addition, a sympha- 
thetic understanding of the man he is working with and is possessed of pa- 
tience, forbearance and kindliness he will fail. . . . 6 

In November 1920, when it appeared that in spite of heavy enlist- 
ments the number taken into the Army would not be sufficient to reach 
the goal of 280,000, several divisions conducted recruiting drives. 7 
The 2d Division, between 17 November and 4 December 1920, enrolled 
5,416. The 5th Division, from 15 December 1920 until 15 January 
1921, enlisted 7,466. The 4th and 7th Divisions were engaged in 
recruiting drives when a joint resolution of Congress directed the 
Army to cease enlistments until its strength dropped below 175,000. 
The Eegular Army later was directed to reduce its strength to 150,000 
by 1 October 1921 and enlisted men serving in the United States were 
permitted to apply for discharge until the Army was reduced to that 

Economy efforts, similar to those which had affected the recruiting 
system 30 years earlier, caused the discontinuance, in January 1922,, 
of general recruiting depots at Fort Slocum, N. Y. ; Columbus Bar- 
racks, Ohio ; Fort Thomas, Ky. ; Jefferson Barracks, Mo. ; Fort Logan, 
Colo.; and Fort McDowell, Calif. 8 Corps area commanders were 
charged with keeping all military organizations within their areas 
filled to authorized strength. Recruiting responsibility was decen- 
tralized and fewer men were assigned to the General Recruiting 

Recruit training was regarded as a regimental function. Recruit 
detachments trained new arrivals until they could be assigned without 
retarding the progress of the units they joined. 9 Regular Army 
organizations were to be ready to expand to war size in the minimum 

e Ibid. 

7 Report of The Adjutant General, 1921, p. 35. 
s WD GO 4, 20 Jan 22 ; WD Cir 8, 2 Feb 23. 
a WD GO 9, 15 May 26, sec. 6. 



time possible and with the least loss of efficiency or were to furnish 
training cadres for the creation of new organizations or were to do 
both. The Ileserve components were trained in association with the 
Ivegular Army. In some instances, Reserve officers understudied Reg- 
ular Army officers. 

Normal tours of duty on foreign service were fixed as 2 years for 
both officers and enlisted men in 1921, 10 but in the interest of economy 
the 3-year period was continued, except for the Philippine Depart- 
ment and Alaska, until 1931. 11 Regulations governing length of over- 
seas tour were suspended in 1942. 12 Those who desired additional time 
overseas could request another year. Overseas departments submitted 
requisitions to The Adjutant General 3 months in advance of the date 
for the return of the men. Generally, transfers were grade for grade, 
but when noncommissioned officers were not available in the United 
States, overseas commanders could fill vacancies by promotion. 

The Army undertook an extensive educational and recreational 
program designed to reduce illiteracy and raise the general educa- 
tional level. The functions of the wartime Committee on Training 
Camps and Activities were transferred, in September 1919, to the 
War Plans Division of the War Department General Staff, which set 
up the Education and Recreation Branch to prepare courses, outline 
instruction, and issue regulations. 13 The program provided for edu- 
cational and vocational training at all posts. Congress appropriated 
$2,000,000 for the fiscal year ending 30 June 1921 and provided 
$3,500,000 for the following year. This money was used to purchase 
equipment and employ instructors, but where qualified officers or 
enlisted men were available instruction was provided without added 
expense to the Government. 

The War Department designated a special field in which each divi- 
sional camp conducted experiments in an effort to work out courses 
that would serve as models for the entire service. Civilian technical 
and educational experts were sent to these camps to study methods 
and cooperate in the development of courses and instruction. The 
educational program was designed to (1) meet the Army's needs for 
technicians and mechanics; (2) raise the general intelligence and 
increase the efficiency of soldiers; and (3) train the soldiers in occu- 
pations they could follow after their return to civilian life. Com- 
manding officers reported that vocational and educational training 
threatened to overshadow military training and that many adminis- 
trative duplications made the program impractical. During an econ- 
omy move in 1921, most of the highly paid instructors were replaced 

10 WD Cir 25, 27 Jan 21. 

11 AR 615-210, 25 Nov 31. 

12 WD Cir 226, 11 Jul 42. 

13 WD Bui 33, 30 Sep 19, sec. V. 



by specially trained military personnel, and vocational and educa- 
tional training was reduced to an incidental part of military training. 

Restrictions against the enlistment of illiterates were rescinded 20 
July 1920, and men who could not read but who were otherwise quali- 
fied were accepted. They were placed in training centers, instructed 
in English, and given courses designed to improve citizenship. The 
Camp Upton educational center that trained illiterates during the 
war continued to operate under the direction of the Education and 
Recreation Branch of the War Department General Staff. 14 

The center at Camp Upton was transferred to Camp Dix in 1920, 
and additional recruit educational centers were opened at Camp Jack- 
son, S. C, Camp Pike, Ark., Camp Grant, 111., Camp Travis, Tex., 
and Camp Lewis, Wash. The 4- to 6-months' course included ele- 
mentary general information, history, geography, and citizenship 
and was intended to give an illiterate or non-English-speaking recruit 
sufficient knowledge to perform his duties as a private soldier. The 
daily program called for 3 hours of educational work and an equal 
amount of time devoted to military instruction. During the fiscal 
year 1921, these centers admitted 9,671 recruits, graduating 4,067. 
Those who could not absorb the training were returned to their regi- 
ments or discharged. Experience indicated a need for better intel- 
ligence tests that would reveal whether the men had the ability to 
finish the training. In the fall of 1921, the reduction in the strength 
of the Army made the training of illiterates unnecessary because there 
were more literate applicants for enlistment than could be accepted. 15 

Regular Army Commissions 

A number of emergency officers who had served during World War 
I received Regular Army commissions, granted under authority of 
the Army Reorganization Act of 4 June 1920. 16 This act authorized 
an increase in the number of Regular Army officers and provided 
that not less than one-half of that increase, exclusive of the Medical 
Department and Army Chaplains Corps, should be filled by appoint- 
ing applicants who had held non-Regular commissions during the 
war. 17 

The candidates, many of whom applied through their immediate 
commanding officers before the act received final approval, were 
tested by preliminary examining boards. Their papers then went 
to a Washington board of officers that made recommendations to the 
chiefs of the arms and services, who also appointed boards. These 

"Capt. Bernard Lent/,, "Eradicating Illiteracy in the Army," Infantry Journal (Oct 

1920), P- 353. 

is Report of the Secretary of War, 1921, pp. 14-17. 

16 y$ar Department Annual Reports, 1920, 1 pp. 157-267. 

n Report of The Adjutant General, 192*1, p. 35. 



boards, in turn, sent approved names back to Washington where a 
board of general officers made the final selections. 

The application files were closed on 23 June 1920 with 14,515 appli- 
cations on hand, and tho last of the 5,217 selections was made in April 
of 1921. 18 By 1 January 1921, all of the World War I emergency 
officers not undergoing hospitalization or medical treatment had been 
discharged from their emergency commissions. 19 Since 1890, Regu- 
lar Army officers below the grade of major had qualified for promo- 
tion through examinations, 20 but these examinations were now dis- 
continued. In their place the Army adopted a classification system 
which designated officers to be retained as class A ; those who were sub- 
ject to release were listed as class B. 

The Army War College had been a functioning division of the 
War Department General Staff as well as an institution for train- 
ing officers, but as a General Staff college it became a genuine train- 
ing school which offered instruction in high command and general 
staff duties of corps areas, general headquarters, the groups of armies, 
and the Army. It prepared officers for duty on the War Department 
General Staff or in the office of the Assistant Secretary of War. Indi- 
vidual officers and committees investigated military and economic 
problems, and their reports frequently provided ideas which were 
used in the development of war plans. Several of these studies con- 
cerned the replacement system. Specialized instruction for the dif- 
ferent branches of the service was offered at the special service schools. 

The National Defense Act of 1920 also expanded the system of 
military education by establishing the General Service Schools, includ- 
ing the Army School of the Line and the General Staff College at 
Fort Leavenworth in addition to the Army War College at Wash- 
ington, D. C. The school at Fort Leavenworth was reorganized 
around the four General Staff sections of administration, military 
intelligence, military operations, and supply. The staff and faculty 
at Fort Leavenworth produced a complete series of military texts. 
In 1923, the name was changed to the General Service School, and 
it continued under that name until 1928 when it became the Com- 
mand and General Staff School. The course, which was reduced to 
1 year in 1923, was enlarged in 1928 and offered 2 years of instruc- 
tion for Regular Army officers. In 1935, the course was again reduced 
to 1 year. 21 

In the early 1920's, the school added a branch to prepare extension 
course material for the home study of Eeserve Corps officers. Start - 

18 Ibid. 

19 Ibid. 

20 Act of October 1, 1890, "An Act for the examination of certain officers of the Army 
and to regulate promotion therein," 51st Cong., 1st Sess. 

21 Brig. Gen. H, H. Fuller, "The Development of the Command and General Staff School. 
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas." Military Review, XXI (1942), No. 83, p. 5. 



ing in 1924, National Guard and Reserve officers attended an- 
nual courses lasting from March until June. These courses continued 
until the expansion of the Army in 1940. The Command and General 
Staff School faculty studied the replacement system and prepared a 
number of lectures and texts dealing with that subject. A number of 
the policies in regard to the replacement system originated in the 
schools. Others were written into mobilization plans prepared by 
the War Department General Staff and the corps areas. 

The Eeserve Officers' Training Corps was an element of the 
replacement system. It was expected that each Reserve officer would 
be assigned in peacetime to the position he would fill upon mobiliza- 
tion, 22 a theory which did not work well in practice. The ground- 
work was completed in 1921 for the Citizens' Military Training Camps, 
which were intended to provide a reservoir of trained enlisted men 
and to develop potential officers who did not have the opportunity of 
the Reserve Officers' Training program in the colleges, 

The Harbord Board's Study of the Replacement System 

General Pershing became Chief of Staff 1 July 1921 and received 
instructions from Secretary of War John W. Weeks to reorganize 
the General Staff to embody World War I experience. 23 General 
Pershing appointed Maj. Gen. James G. Harbord head of a board of 
officers which considered organizational matters and gave brief atten- 
tion to the replacement problem, noting that responsibility for the 
replacement system was not clearly delimited within the General Staff 
but was divided between Gl and G3. A memorandum, prepared 29 
July 1921 and considered at the 5 August meeting of the board, stated 
that the duties which had been delegated to the War Department Gen- 
eral Staff included "the replacement of personnel in accordance with 
priorities formulated by G3." The memorandum continued : 

This duty of looking after replacements is so intimately connected with 
the duty of the movement of troops in the Zone of the Interior, including 
the delivery of same at training camps and ports of embarkation, that the 
two functions should be placed in the same subdivision of the General Staff 
and not in two separate subdivisions. 24 

The board considered a number of proposed solutions, one of which 
was to abolish Gl, but it made no such recommendation. Its de- 
liberations did not change the plans for the replacement system then 
under consideration. When the Personnel Division of the War De- 
partment General Staff was established a short time later ; the respon- 
sibility regarding replacements was divided with the G3 Division. 25 

^Report of the Secretary of War, 1921 3 p. 25. 

23 Maj. Gen. J. G. Harbord, "The American General Staff/' Saturday Evening Post (13 
Mar 26). 
2* ibid. 

25 WD GO 41, 16 Aug 21. 



The proposal to abolish Gl was brought up again in 1933 when Maj. 
Gen. Johnson Hagood, who then was commanding Seventh Corps area, 
proposed a reorganization of the War Department into three groups — 
administration, supply, and tactics. 2 " He contended that The Adju- 
tant General's Department should absorb the functions of the Gl 
branch of the General Staff and take over general supervision of line 
personnel, which then was handled by the chiefs of the branches. 

General Hagood further proposed that in the event of a major 
emergency the Regular Army should be disbanded and professional 
soldiers should be used to train and lead a temporary army of 10 to 
15 million men. His report pointed out that the National Defense 
Act contemplated an army of 1 million men capable of being mobi- 
lized immediately, but he argued that such a plan was impractical, 
first, because men w T ould not join an enlisted reserve corps in time of 
peace, and second, because reserve supplies to support such a force 
would be too costly. Congress did not pass any legislation based on 
this proposal, but the questions which General Hagood raised were 
prophetic of some of the staff problems which later centered around 
the replacement system. 

General Summerall's Predictions on Replacement Requirements 

An indication of the interest which was being shown in personnel 
replacements in 1927 is contained in the record of a meeting of Maj. 
Gen. C. P. Summerall, United States Army Chief of Staff, with cer- 
tain members of his staff on 23 August 1927. General Summerall pre- 
dicted that in the event of a future war 100 percent replacements 
would be needed during the first 3 months. 27 He said the Army should 
be able to operate even though it had only a minimum of time in which 
to prepare and was forced to use untrained units under untrained of- 
ficers. This was what had happened to us in every war and it would 
happen to us again, he added. 

The Chief of Staff told his assistants he wanted a plan that would 
trace the processing of officers and enlisted men from the induction 
and training pools through the theater of operations ; that would show 
how wounded men would be returned to their units after their wounds 
were healed; and that would indicate units and installations in the 
Zone of the Interior and in the reserve divisions. 

General Summerall stressed that all officers of the Regular Army, 
National Guard, and the Officers Reserve Corps were to be considered 
as a single pool to be assigned on M-day where their services were 
most needed. He wanted the Reserve officers informed of their places 

26 Hearings . . . Committee on Military Affairs, House of Representatives (HMAC) , 
73d Cong., 1st Sess., 12 Apr 33, p. 23. 

27 Memo, WDGS, undated. AG A-44-157. DRB, TAG. 



in the mobilization plan. Pointing to the danger of limiting mobiliza- 
tion plans to supply and training, he declared that the plans must also 
show the maximum possibilities in personnel procurement irrespective 
of available equipment and that Gl should arrange to receive the 
draft in any numbers, irrespective of supply and training. 

General Summerall further stated that Congress should know what 
the War Departmeiat expected to do with regard to the mobilization of 
personnel to meet an emergency and that Congress should be shown 
what training facilities and military supplies were needed to make 
that personnel effective. Then if circumstances again forced the use 
of that personnel, untrained and inadequately supplied, the respon- 
sibility would rest on Congress for failure to provide needed supplies 
and training facilities. 

Mobilization of the Civilian Conservation Corps 

When the Civilian Conservation Corps was mobilized in 1933, it 
gave the Army an opportunity to test its plans for raising men. Fur- 
thermore, Reserve officers called to duty received training in admin- 
istration and command which a number of Regular Army officers be- 
lieved to be of great value. 28 

The first duty of the War Department was to receive applicants 
certified by the Department of Labor and organize them into units. 
Later, however, the Army assumed control over the entire activity ex- 
cept for the selection of enrollees and the supervision of the men while 
they were engaged on the work projects. By May 1933, about 8,500 
men were being enrolled daily, and the organization soon reached its 
authorized strength of 300,000, a figure which exceeded the number 
enlisted for the War with Spain. The daily average of enrollments 
exceeded the number recruited in the United States during World War 
I for both the Army and the Navy. Local welfare agencies, working 
under Department of Labor regulations, selected men from among 
those who volunteered. The Army inducted these men, immunized 
them, and made out individual records as they passed through recon- 
ditioning camps on their way to the work camps, where they arrived 
about 3 weeks after their enrollment. 

Although the Regular Army was forced to curtail many of its nor- 
mal activities, the Civilian Conservation Corps mobilization enabled 
it to test plans previously prepared for a war emergency but revised 
to fit the new situation. There were more efficient officers available 
than during 1917, and the Secretary of War reported less confusion and 
delay and more efficiency than during the World War I mobilization. 29 

28 Statement, U. Gen. Ben Lear (Ret.), 15 May 52. HIS 330.14. OCMH. 
Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1933, pp. 7-11, 192. 



About 3,000 Regular Army officers were required for supervisory 
duties. Some were made available by early graduation of classes 
at practically all service schools, but many were taken from normal 
duty assignments. With few exceptions, the supervisory force at 
each camp of 200 enrollees included 2 Regular Army officers, 1 Re- 
serve officer, and 4 enlisted men of the Regular Army. Reserve officers 
and rated enrollees of the Corps latfer took over most of these duties. 

Many Regular Army units were stripped of personnel, a situation 
which was also likely to develop during a war emergency, but these 
depleted units were not filled up with new recruits as would have 
happened in a mobilization for war ; consequently there was no chance 
for them to build up again until they had been relieved of their addi- 
tional duties. 30 

The fact that men were enrolled for a 6-month term-of-service re- 
sulted in a continuous replacement problem. A considerable portion 
of each man's service was taken up with assignment, discharge, and 
travel, thus reducing the length of time he could be profitably em- 

Between 5 April 1933 and 31 December 1938, the CCC had 2,120,000 
men 31 on its rolls. In the fiscal year of 1938, enrollees at over 1,500 
camps included 253,776 needy, unemployed, unmarried "juniors" from 
17 to 23 years of age; 17,707 war veterans, unlimited by age or marital 
status ; 9,500 Indians on Government reservations ; and 4,800 indigent 
territorials in Alaska, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, or the Virgin Islands. 
In January 1939, a bill was introduced in Congress to make the CCC 
a permanent institution, but it did not pass. 

In the field of statistics, 66.75 percent of the junior enrollees came 
from relief families ; another 29 percent from families below normal 
or average standard of living ; 3 percent had no families. Three per- 
cent were completely illiterate ; 38 percent had not gone through gram- 
mar school; only 11 percent had finished high school. In age, 59.47 
percent were 17 or 18. Nine percent were Negroes. 

The Civilian Conservation Corps gave no military training to its 
members and therefore did not provide the Army with an effective 
reserve force. Since the men enrolled were generally of military age 
and physically capable, it was not suitable, as a nucleus for an auxili- 
ary labor force which the Army could have used during an emergency. 
Both the Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Youth Ad- 
ministration, which was established within the Works Progress Ad- 
ministration by Executive order on 26 June 1935, gave the Army some 
experience, however, with auxiliary labor units. On Army-sponsored 

30 Ibid. 

31 Annual Report of the Director of the Civilian Conservation Corps, Fiscal Year 1938, 
pp. 23-34. 



projects, National Youth Administration workers were used to the 
maximum extent possible to replace enlisted men on special duty. 32 
In March 1940, National Youth Administration projects had been 
established on more than 60 posts and about 3,100 youths were em- 

The Civilian Conservation Corps provided the Army with experi- 
ence in the enrollment and speedy assignment of large numbers of 
men, experience which was utilized during the World War II mobi- 
lization. Reserve officers assigned to the camps and a considerable 
number of the enrollees received administrative experience which later 
proved of value to the military forces. Several proposals were made 
for the conversion of the Civilian Conservation Corps camps into 
military training camps, but none was approved. Army Service 
Forces in June 1942 took over some 550 Civilian Conservation Corps 
camps, but the locations used by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 
most instances were not suitable for replacement training camps and 
the buildings were of a temporary type. Some of the buildings were 
moved to nearby military posts while others were made into camps 
for conscientious objectors or Japanese evacuees. 

The Replacement Plan as Outlined in 1936 

The outline of a proposed replacement system, which was pub- 
lished in 1936 in the Manual for Commanders of Large Units (volume 
II, Administrative), was drawn up after careful consideration of 
World War I experiences. It offered a plan for the organization, 
training, and forwarding of personnel in sufficient numbers to main- 
tain all troops in a theater of operations at full strength at all times. 33 

Personnel replacements were defined to include all those destined 
to replace losses or to bring any unit up to its prescribed strength. 
Several sources of replacements were listed. They were to come 
from the Zone of the Interior ; from evacuees in the theater of oper- 
ations who, it was assumed, would, as a rule, be automatically returned 
to their former organizations; from the personnel returned to an 
assignment status after being absent without leave; from prisoners 
upon completion of sentence; from officers upon reclassification; or 
from others who for any reason became available for assignment. 

Estimating the number of replacements required was made a func- 
tion of the Zone of the Interior. It was realized that the commander 
of the theater of operations was materially concerned, and it was 

32 Ltr, WD, 25 Mar 40, sub : National Youth Administration Work Projects on Military 
Posts and Stations. AG 600.12 (3-19-40) M-DM. DRB, TAG. 

» Memo, WDGS, 27 May 35, sub : Initial Personnel Policies of the War Department 
for an Emergency. AG, G-l/12602-3. DRB, TAG. Later instructions appeared in 
FM 101-1, ch. 3. 



expected that he would indicate his requirements. Before being 
forwarded to a theater of operations, replacements were to be thor- 
oughly trained, clothed, equipped, and appropriately armed. 

The replacement system in the theater of operations was to be 
sufficiently flexible to meet the local requirements and to assure an 
unfailing and timely arrival of replacements where needed. Replace- 
ments, like supplies, were to be echeloned in depth, the number of 
echelons in the theater of operations to depend mainly on the depth 
of the theater. Generally, two echelons were contemplated — the army 
replacement depots and the replacement depots in the communica- 
tions zone. 

Depots in which replacements were organized into 300-man com- 
panies with three platoons of 100 men each were considered satisfac- 
tory. Three companies were to comprise a replacement battalion. 
A replacement depot, generally, would consist of a headquarters and 
two or more replacement battalions for which tables of organization 
were provided. 

Replacements were to move from the communications zone replace- 
ment depots in response to requisitions submitted by the armies and by 
units in the communications zone, as controlled by priorities estab- 
lished by theater commanders. Priorities were expected to be of 
greatest value when the supply of replacements in the communica- 
tions zone was less than the demands of the units served. Commanders 
responsible for the maintenance of replacement installations at proper 
levels were to anticipate losses in accordance with tactical plans and 
to requisition replacements accordingly. Replacements would be 
requisitioned by units in the theater of operations for both officers 
and enisted men on the first requisition submitted following the 
absence of the individual. 

Replacements were to be forwarded by rail, water, motor, air, or on 
foot. When forwarded by rail, they were to be sent by trainloads when 
practicable, but not normally in numbers less than a carload. Replace- 
ments were not to be sent to units engaged in combat when this could 
be avoided, and they were not to be sent in small increments. Rail- 
road regulating stations were to function in the same manner as in the 
shipment of supplies and were to determine priority of movement to 
the army under instructions from theater commanders. 

Experience had demonstrated the difficulty of keeping replacement 
training in the Zone of the Interior abreast of new developments in 
combat methods. It was suggested that after his arrival in the theater, 
but before his incorporation into a combat unit, a replacement should 
be given additional training. Decision as to where it was to be given 
was a function of the theater commander. No plan was to preclude 
additional training if such was deemed necessary by army and lower 



unit commanders. Additional men were to be provided in theater of 
operation depots if training was given there. In view of their special 
training, replacements designated for a particular arm or service were 
not to be diverted from such service. It was deemed essential that 
specialists should have proper identification when they arrived at their 

Figures then available indicated that of every 100 men hospital- 
ized in the theater of operations approximately 78 again became fit for 
combat duty. The full effect of this additional source of replacements 
was expected only after several months of combat when it would have 
an important bearing upon the number of replacements required from 
the Zone of the Interior. Men who had reached army evacuation hos- 
pitals in the course of their treatment would be returned to duty, 
either directly or through the army convalescent hospitals, to the 
army replacement depot, their movements thereto being made on orders 
from army headquarters. Men belonging to communications zone units 
who did not have to be evacuated from station hospitals would be 
returned to duty direct to their units. 

Mobilization Plans 

Practical application of the principles governing the operation of 
the replacement system, as set forth in the Manual for Commanders of 
Large Units, depended upon the mobilization plan. Immediately after 
World War I, the War Department General Staff believed that surplus 
military equipment could be used during the initial phase of a mobili- 
zation. Later, as the World War I surplus gradually disappeared, it 
had to revise the mobilization plans, making manpower and equipment 
procurement rates the principal factors in determining schedules. By 
1928, the voluminous plan prepared in 1924 was regarded as im- 
practical and was simplified, decentralizing responsibilities, to corps 
areas. 34 Four mobilization periods were provided extending respec- 
tively 60, 90, 120, and 150 days from M-day. The establishment of 
reception and replacement training centers was made the function of 
corps area commanders. 

The Planning Branch of Gl of the War Department General Staff 
prepared the replacement plan contained in the mobilization regula- 
tions. It was assumed that in the early stages of a mobilization the 
procurement of equipment would tend to lag behind the procurement 
of manpower and that equipment would become the determining fac- 
tor. For several years, planners assumed that great cantonments, 
such as had been used in World War I, would not be necessary again ; 
instead they proposed to use Federal, State, county, and municipal 

Lecture, Brig. Gen. Andrew Moses, ACofS. Gl, WDGS, at Army War College, 1 Oct 
35. AG 44-157. DRB, TAG. 



buildings for troop shelter, supplemented by private buildings if 
necessary. The determining factors were assumed to be (1) the rapid- 
ity with which personnel could be called; (2) the time required to 
organize and train units for combat; and (3) the rate at which muni- 
tions could be manufactured. 35 Gen. Malm Craig, who became Chief 
of Staff 2 October 1935, initiated the protective mobilization plan 
which generally was followed during the 1940-41 augmentation of the 
Army. Under this plan the expansion of the military forces was gov- 
erned by the manpower and industrial supplies actually available. 

Following a study of procurement in 1936, new regulations were 
written calling for the Regular Army and federalized National Guard 
(less those units on the outpost line to absorb the first blow) to be or- 
ganized as an initial protective force to hold until mobilization could 
be completed. 

The successive stages of this plan included : 

1. An initial protective force consisting of the Regular Army and 
the National Guard to be ready within 30 days after the declaration of 
a national emergency and to have the mission of protecting the United 
States while larger forces were being mobilized. 

2. An additional force of approximately 700,000 to be called in 
successive stages and on a schedule governed by the maximum pro- 
duction of war material of which industry was capable. 

3. The addition of men at the maximum rate at which equipment 
could be procured until a force of 4,000,000 men was mobilized. This 
was to be completed in 390 days. This plan differed from previous 
plans in that it was intended to provide greater balance during the 
mobilization period. 36 However, more efficient results could be ob- 
tained by reaching a balanced force on the target date rather than by 
attempting to maintain balance during the entire mobilization period. 
Units that required longer training started first, those that could 
take the field after short training started later. 37 

Mobilization tests indicated inadequate planning regarding limited 
service personnel, which was expected to include about 14 percent of 
the men between 21 and 30 years of age. 38 Reports made as a result 
of these tests proposed extensive use of civilians in corps area service 

Seventh Corps Area expected to select replacements at the reception 
centers and send them to branch replacement centers for training. 39 

35 Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1931, App. A. 

38 Hearings , . . Truman Committee, 77th Cong., pp. 186-187. 

3T Statement, Maj Gen L. C. Jaynes, 19 Nov 51. HIS 330.14. OCMH. 

38 Army War College Committee Reports, 1936, on "Corps Area Mobilization Plans." 
Copy in Mobilisation Book, Gl file. DRB, TAG. 

39 Maj J. M. Shelton before the Corps Area Gl Conference, WD, 4-16 May 36, sub: Gl 
Features of Seventh Corps Area Mobilization Plan. G-l/14204 (5-23-36). DRB, TAG. 



Reception centers, however, would send filler replacements directly to 
Regular Army and National Guard units during the early stages of a 
mobilization. Loss replacements required for the theater of opera- 
tions by M-30 were to be selected as far as practicable from men with 
some military training, who were to be given priority in movement to 
replacement centers on War Department Orders. After the 1936 test, 
Eighth Corps Area recommended that the prohibition of the use of 
limited service men in recruiting and at schools, contained in para- 
graph 26b, section III, of the corps area mobilization plan, 1934, be 
removed. The test indicated there were many places in each class 
of activity where limited service men could release able-bodied men. 
Eighth Corps Area recommended less restrictive rules for employ- 
ment of class B manpower in theater of operations service units, in 
units for fixed harbor defenses, and in other places where expenditure 
of great physical energy was not required. 

The replacement problem received considerable attention at the 
conference of corps area Gl's held in Washington from 4 to 15 May 
1936. Since it appeared that replacements would be a heavy drain 
on personnel, Lt. Col. R. G. Kirkwood, who discussed the personnel 
needs of service commands at this meeting, urged that limited service 
men be used in all possible capacities. 40 He also favored using civilians 
who would not be eligible for the draft. He assumed that rates of pay 
for civilians would be higher, but thought using them would decrease 
postwar costs since they would not draw pensions or veterans' benefits. 

The commanding general, Second Corps Area, proposed in 1937 
that the corps area service command be made up of limited service 
officers and enlisted men. 41 The War Department announced, how- 
ever, that it did not expect to use limited service personnel, other than 
retired Regular Army officers. 42 War Department officials thought 
that it was not advisable to use funds for training retired or inactive 
personnel when appropriations for active personnel w T ere not all that 
might be desired. 

Second Corps Area requested a force of United States Guards to 
consist of approximately 400 officers and 7,000 enlisted men, made up 
of limited service personnel. This request was approved by the War 
Department 12 November 1937, 43 but the approval was rescinded in 
1939 because the War Department by that time had adopted a policy 
of using military police organizations for duties in connection with 

40 Ltr, Hq 5th Corps Area, 25 May 46, sub : Report on Conference of Corps Area — 
Gl's at Washington, D. C. G-l/14204. DRB, TAG. 

41 Ltr., Hq. 2d Corps Area, 25 Oct 37, sub : Peacetime Organization of Corps Area Serv- 
ice Command Units. AG 381 (10-25-37). DRB, TAG. 

« Ltr., WDAGO, 9 Dec 37, sub: Corps Area Service Commands. AG 381 (11-22-37). 

43 Ltr., WDGS, 12 Nov 37, sub: Mobilization Provisioas for U. S. Guards. AG 381 
(10-12-37), G3 6543-123. DRB, TAG. 



internal security. Limited service men could be used only after special 
authorization had been received from the War Department. 44 

Recognizing that in an emergency there would be a serious man- 
power shortage, officials in Washington indicated a willingness to use 
men from the limited service lists during a mobilization if others were 
not available. 45 Many officers feared that acceptance of substandard 
enlisted men into the Regular Army and National Guard during a 
minor emergency might leave those units with undesirable members 
after the emergency was over. It was expected that the inefficient 
would remain on the rosters for a long time and thus keep the stand- 
ards low. 

By May 1940, officers in Gl of the War Department General Staff 
realized that, in general, inadequate provision had been made for the 
overhead of theaters of operations. 4 " The War Department Protective 
Mobilization Plan was amended to provide units for replacement 
installations in overseas theaters of war, but there was no specific pro- 
vision for theater headquarters. Some staff members noted this lack 
of adequate overhead and predicted that a large number of loss replace- 
ments would be used to man installations and would never reach com- 
bat units. 47 

Loss Replacement Ratio Tables 

Responsibility for the computation of loss replacement rates de- 
volved upon the Personnel Division of the War Department General 
Staff in 1936, at a time when there was no study available within the 
division covering the subject. 48 Previous computations had been made 
from Army Medical Bulletin, No. 24, War Casualties, by Col. Albert 
G. Love, MC, which analyzed casualties from a medical viewpoint 
rather than from the viewpoint of arm and service percentages of 
losses. The War Department wanted adequate replacement plans and 
regarded their preparation as vital but realized that few officers were 
proficient in the subject. The Personnel Division needed at least one 
officer who could make the computations for any particular mobiliza- 
tion or strategic plan on short notice. While it was realized that the 
solution to the replacement problem would be in the nature of an 
"educated guess," it was considered desirable to do as much of the 
educating as possible before military operations made it necessary to 
start guessing. 

"Ltr, WD AGO, 14 Feb 39, sub: Limited Service Personnel. AG 381 (11-12-37), 
G-l/ 13308-167. DRB, TAG. 

45 Ltr, WDAGO, 14 Mar 38, sub: Protective Mobilization Plan. AG 381 (2-28-38) 
(Misc) C-M. DRB f TAG. 

48 Memo, WDGS, Gl, 2 May 40. Copy in GHQ and theater file. DRB, TAG. 

47 Ibid. 

48 Memo for ACof S, G-l, WDGS, 10 Dec 38, sub : Office Memorandum for the Computa- 
tion of Loss Replacements. AG G-l/15460. DRB, TAG. 



In December 1938, Lt. Col. (later Maj. Gen.) Clift Andrus com- 
pleted a study of loss replacements, especially as to their number and 
composition. 49 Colonel Andrus figured casualties by arm and service 
from AEF experiences from July to November 1918, using data ob- 
tained from the files of The Adjutant General and the Historical 
Branch of the Army War College. Loss replacements for Air Corps 
officers were based on rate of production of aircraft in proportion to 
estimated combat losses, rather than on the estimated losses alone. 

Colonel Andrus concluded there would probably be a serious need 
for replacements early in operations because casualty rates were likely 
to be high among unseasoned troops, which findings agreed with Gen- 
eral SummeralPs statements in 1927. Men returning from hospitals 
were expected to form an important source of loss replacements, but 
it was realized that the return flow would start slowly. The study 
pointed out that changes in organization inevitably accompany war ; 
and that new types of units were likely to take men from previously 
existing units. Thereafter, loss replacement ratio estimates were in- 
cluded in field manuals. 50 

The 1 939 Study of Replacement Regulations 

In 1939, there was a revision of mobilization regulations in which 
an effort was made to correct the deficiencies that had appeared either 
in the mobilization tests or in conferences and critiques. In the combat 
zone the army commander was expected to anticipate losses in accord- 
ance with tactical plans and was held responsible for moving sufficient 
replacements to divisions, corps, and army troops. The commanders 
of combat units, upon receipt of replacements, were responsible for 
integrating the new men into their organizations with the least loss of 
efficiency. 51 

Eeplacement depots were not contemplated in advance of army 
depots, unless the army commander so directed. Flexibility of priori- 
ties was expected to prevent delaying replacements in division and 
corps depots and to permit the pooling of specialists which had be- 
come necessary in a motorized and mechanized army. Efforts were 
made to save depot overhead. 

Based on requisitions (by courier, mail, or telegraph), replacements 
were to be sent to the division railhead or by motor to a designated 
point. Distribution was to be made by divisions immediately to repre- 
sentatives present from regiments and similar units. If anything 
interferred with this distribution it was believed that the division 

49 Ibid . 

50 FM 101-10 contains figures taken from World War II experience. 

61 Memo, WDGS, 24 Oct 39, sub : Comments of the Chief of Staff Regarding the Infantry 
Situation. AG G-l/15863. DRB, TAG. 

346225 O - 55 - 17 



headquarters company could hold these replacements for a short time. 
In a similar manner, replacements were to be sent to corps and army 

These revised regulations, contained in Mobilization Regulations 
1-11, on 8 September 1939 were approved by Gen. George C. Marshall, 
who had been Acting Chief of Staff since July 1939 and who had been 
named Chief of Staff on 1 September. The Chief of Staff continued 
to study the replacement problem as he believed the plan as it was 
presented offered little in the way of details of organization. 

On 26 September 1939, General Marshall indicated he was not fully 
satisfied with arrangements which had been made for handling re- 
placements. In a memorandum in which he discussed the Infantry 
situation and which he sent to G3, who extracted the parts pertinent 
to Gl and forwarded them to that office, General Marshall said : 

My other thought on this matter suggests the necessity of more than routine 
arrangements to replace casualties. Just where would the replacements be 
just prior to a battle, under what control, and when fed to the unit? ... I 
would assume that in an army of our character, at the opening of a cam- 
paign into which we have had to .move without delay of a year for prepara- 
tion, that our temporary sick casualties would be very heavy, and our low 
rifle strength, therefore, correspondingly depleted. Therefore, replacements 
assume a great importance to my mind. 52 

As a result of General Marshall's comments, a staff study was pre- 
pared. It pointed out that seldom if ever would a rifle unit enter com- 
bat at tabular war strength if one did, the chances were that after a 
few minutes of combat the toll of casualties would begin. Trained re- 
placements were recognized as essential — as had been shown in 
191Y-18. 53 It was held that the ideal replacement system would in- 
clude a division infantry replacement pool wherein rep] acements were 
trained, assigned to regiments, and fed to the units during rest or re- 
lief periods or during defensive combat, but only in extreme emer- 
gencies during offensive combat. However, it was considered that the 
division replacement pool would prove difficult to administer during 
a mobile situation. A corps pool was considered more feasible. 

The following principles were put forward as the basis of any 
replacement system: trained replacements, immediately available in 
close proximity to units served; the framework of replacement organi- 
zation to be planned in advance and not left to chance. 54 On 24 Octo- 
ber 1939, after considering the remarks by the Chief of Staff and the 
staff study, Gl, WDGS, recommended that no changes be made in 
the regulations then in force providing for the replacement system. 55 

52 Memo, CofS to G3, 26 Sep 39. Copy in OCS 21097-2. DRB, TAG. 

83 Ibid. 

84 Ibid. 
65 Ibid. 



The 1 940-41 Expansion of the Army 

When times are normal the Army may be confronted with public 
indifference or actual opposition to its needs. In an emergency, the 
Army sometimes finds its position reversed because it has to resist 
public clamor for too rapid expansion. The 1940 emergency brought 
such a change in public opinion. A Gallup poll indicated public senti- 
ment regarding compulsory military training had changed from 61 
percent against, in October 1939, to 64 percent in favor, in July 1940. 
At the same time, a survey published in Fortune Magazine stated 
that more than 93 percent of the people were in favor of spending 
whatever amount of money was necessary to build up the Army, Navy, 
and Air Force. 

Enlistments increased but there was a more marked increase in 
the letters from persons who wanted to help in some way other than 
by enlistment. Some of these suggestions were impractical, such as 
the one from a woman who wanted to be a hostess on an Army bomber, 
but there were many that came from persons who could be useful in 
the defense effort. Letters from those volunteering their services 
reached such volume that it was necessary to establish an administra- 
tive agency to file the requests and reply to them. 56 

General Marshall foresaw the danger that might come from turn- 
ing the Army into a school for hordes of raw recruits. He told the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars that "we must not become involved by 
impatience or ignorance in an ill-considered, over-night expansion 
which would . . . leave us in a dilemma of confused results, half 
baked and fatally unbalanced." 57 

The Army could only expand so fast and there were indications 
that there would be too many emergency officers. With 117,000 
Reserve officers already commissioned, a new policy Avas adopted 
which limited new commissions to ROTC graduates and certain 
specially qualified persons. 

The Selective Service and Training Act, approved by the Presi- 
dent 16 September 1940, became the first peacetime conscription law 
in American history. The extent of the change that had come over 
American public opinion was indicated by the fact that although the 
American Legion had sponsored universal conscription as early as 
1922 and several other bills had been considered, none had received 
approval. On 16 October 1940, about 16,000,000 men between 21 and 
36 years of age were listed for military service. The Selective Serv- 
ice Act limited peacetime inductions to 900,000 men in any one year, 
but appropriations provided for only 800,000. 58 

™ Memo, OCS, 26 Sep 39. OCS 21097-2. DRB, TAG. 
" Time, 8 Jul 40, p. 19. 

C8 Annual Report of the Selective Service System, "Selective Service in Peacetime," 29 
Aug 42, pp. 183 and 247 ; WD Bui 39, 30 Nov 40. 



Men 18 to 20 years of age registered 30 June 1942 and became 
liable for military service 13 November 1942. On 5 December 1942, 
the services fixed 38 as the maximum age for induction. Beginning 
1 January 1943, men registered upon reaching the age of 18, thus 
adding about 100,000 per month to the list of registrants. Men from 
45 to 65 years of age registered but did not become liable for military 

Corps area commanders, who had received instructions concern- 
ing the procurement of selectees, on 17 October 1940 were required 
to state on requisitions that adequate hospitalization, shelter, and 
supplies were available for the men who were being called. During 
the fitst 13 months of the draft requisitions totaled 970,595, but the 
number actually inducted was 921,722, 59 Many volunteered before 
the * r numbers were called, and by December about 20,000 had passed 
through reception centers. There were no replacement training 
centers in operation at that time, so hastily classified and untrained 
fillers were sent direct to newly activated units and divisions which 
were being increased to approximate war strength. After 1 year's 
training, men were subject to 10 years in the Reserve components- 

The first National Guard troops were called into Federal service 
16 September 1940* During the next 2 months, approximately 100,000 
Guardsmen moved into camps and started training. 

Mobilization plans contemplated that personnel assigned to inactive 
Reserve divisions during peacetime would provide cadres in the event 
those divisions were called to duty, but these plans did not work out 
in practice. The Reserve divisions offered so few attractions for en- 
listed men that usually only officers were assigned. When the mobi- 
lization started, most Reserve officers were called to duty prior to the 
activation of their divisions ; consequently, the new units needed both 
officers and enlisted men. 

The expansion of the Army by splitting units into equal parts, 
one of the methods used during the World War I mobilization, was 
not considered suitable because it destroyed the effectiveness of the 
old unit. During 1940-41, Regular Army and National Guard divi- 
sions and nondi visional units transferred keymen to the activated 
Reserve divisions, actually new divisions in the Army of the United 
States. These new divisions, in turn, furnished cadres to other new 

Usually about 3 months after activation a new division was au- 
thorized an overstrength in grades and ratings equivalent to the cadre 
requirements as shown in tables of organization, making possible early 
promotion of the cadre members. An overstrength in the lowest grade 
equal to the cadre, about 1,200 for a division, was authorized to take 

59 Ibid. 



care of the loss of personnel. After about 2 months' training the 
members of the cadre were detached from their parent unit and re- 
ported to the headquarters of the new organization. 

The selected division commander, along with several of his key 
staff officers, received a week's orientation at Headquarters, Army 
Ground Forces, and then attended a special new division officers' 
course at the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, 
Kans. The assistant division commander normally attended the spe- 
cial new division officers' course, with many of the infantry officers, 
at the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Ga., while the division artillery 
commander normally attended a similar course at the Artillery School, 
Fort Sill, Okla. Other cadre officers usually attended appropriate 
service schools. 

Twenty-nine reception, centers were established throughout the 
United States. The first selectees were assigned to Regular Army and 
Xational Guard units, most of which were concentrated in large posts. 
By June of 1941, there were 21 replacement training centers giving 
13 weeks of basic training to recruits in order that regiments and 
divisions could carry on training for combat unburdened by giving 
individual instruction to new men. 

Some parent units attempted to get rid of undesirables by placing 
them on cadres. To prevent this practice, higher commanders fre- 
quently required two lists/either of which might be selected for trans- 
fer. Xot knowing which group they could keep, organization com- 
manders were more likely to see that both were properly trained. One 
method used in selecting cadremen was to pick officers for new organi- 
zations after all enlisted men had been chosen. The officers, realiz- 
ing they also might be on the list, made every effort to get good men. 

The Armored Force, organized from the 7th Cavalry Brigade 
(mechanized), the 66th Infantry (light tanks), and a few scattered 
infantry tank units, is an example of the methods used to produce new 
units. From this nucleus I Armored Corps, the 1st and 2d Armored 
Divisions, one GHQ reserve tank battalion, (70th), and the Armored 
Force Board were organized. I Corps, 1st Armored Division, and the 
Board were at Fort Knox, Ky. ; 2d Armored Division at Fort Ben- 
ning, Ga. ; and the 70th Tank Battalion at Fort Meade, Md. 

In November 1940, the Armored Force School was activated at 
Fort Knox. Four Xational Guard reserve tank battalions, the 191st 
at Fort Meade, Md., the 192d at Fort Knox, Ky., the 193d at Fort 
Benning, Ga., and the 194th at Fort Lewis, Wash., were activated 
between Xovember 1940 and January 1941. In February 1941, the 1st 
GHQ Reserve Tank Group Headquarters was activated at Fort Knox, 
Ky. Early in March, the Armored Force Replacement Center at Fort 
Knox was activated with a capacity of 9,000 trainees and was filled 
before the end of the month. 



The 3d Armored Division was activated at Camp Beauregard, 
La., and the 4th Armored Division at Pine Camp, ]ST. Y., on 15 April. 
The Armored Force Headquarters and Headquarters Company was 
activated in May 1941 with headquarters at Fort Knox, Ky. The 1st 
and 2d Armored Divisions, early in June 1941, furnished cadres for 
5 light and 5 medium GHQ reserve tank battalions. Fillers came 
from the replacement training center. 60 

The 30th Infantry Division was one of the first four National Guard 
divisions called into Federal service in 1940. 61 For 2 years, it trained 
at Fort Jackson, near Columbia, S. C. In the fall of 1941, the division 
lost about 6,000 men who were released at the end of 1-year enlist- 
ments or because of hardship cases. By 12 September 1942, the divi- 
sion had furnished several cadres and many of its men had gone to 
officer candidate schools or to the Air Forces ; as a result its strength 
was down to 6,000 men — about 40 percent of normal. 

It had been necessary by August 1942 to take 1,800 men from the 
33d Division to fill the 2d Amphibious Brigade. Army Ground Forces 
was about 167,000 short, and its headquarters began studies on a 
proposal to bring units to full T/O strength plus 15 percent over- 
strength. Drains on units for cadres, cadets, and officer candidates 
had made such inroads that it appeared overstrengths were necessary. 

From November of 1940, when it was inducted into Federal service, 
until December of 1943, when it was alerted for overseas, the 31st 
Infantry Division, with an authorized strength of 13,469, had trained 
39,980 men. On two occasions, the division had reached full strength 
and completed training for combat, only to be stripped of officers and 
men for the benefit of other units. The division was playing a famil- 
iar role for it had been a training division in France during World 
War I. 62 In February 1941, the division, in training at Camp Bland- 
ing, received 7,143 recruits who had no previous training. 63 They 
were selectees from Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana, the 
states in which the division had originated. After 8 weeks of train- 
ing in replacement companies, which had been formed in each regi- 
ment, the new men were assigned to division units. 

The drain on the 30th, 31st, and 33d Divisions was so heavy that 
during maneuvers in September 1942 the 30th had only 2,100 men; 
the 31st, 7,000 ; and the 33d, 8,000. Later these three divisions were 
given No. 1 priority in the assignment of replacements so they could 
be filled and complete their training. In an effort to eliminate the 
need for stripping divisions, the 76th and 78th Divisions were given 

60 Biennial Report of the Chief of Staff of the United States Army July 1, 1989, to 
June 30, 1941, ... pp. 18-19. 

61 Robert L. Hewitt, The Work Horse of the Western Front, the Story of the 30th 
Infantry Division (Washington, 1946), p. 6. 

« History of 31st Infantry Division, 1940-45 (Baton Rouge, 1946). 
63 IUd., p. 13. 



overstrengths of 33% percent, and it was planned to take men needed 
for other units from the overstrength of these two divisions. 

Selective Service trainees could be held in the Army for a period of 
only 12 consecutive months unless Congress declared the national in- 
terests imperiled, in which event the President could extend the pe- 
riod of service. Similar limitations were placed on the service 
of the Reserve components. Both the selective service trainees and 
the Reserve components could be used only in the Western Hemisphere 
or in the territories or possessions of the United States. 

These restrictions, which were not serious in the fall of 1940 when 
the national service legislation was passed, became a drawback as 
training progressed. The 1st, 2d, 3d, and 5th Regular Army Divisions 
had been organized as task forces. Of the 2,628 officers in these four 
divisions, there were 2,006 Reserve officers. 64 Before the task forces 
could have been used for extended service it would have been necessary 
to discharge these Reserve officers and with their permission to have 
reordered them to active duty under the provisions of section 
37a of the National Defense Act. If any had not accepted unlimited 
active duty their replacement would have been necessary, probably at 
a time when the task forces were preparing to move, which would have 
disrupted the organization. On 31 May 1941, there were only 1,388 
Regular officers in the nine Regular Army divisions then activated; 
to provide Regular Army officers for the task force divisions was 
therefore impractical. Had the number been sufficient, there would 
not have been a proper distribution of grades. 

The 1st Division, brought up to strength with fewer trainees in 
order that it might be available in case of an emergency, was much 
better off than any of the others. It was the only division which could 
have been moved overseas without considerable delay. The 2d Divi- 
sion would have had to replace approximately 3,000 men, the 3d Divi- 
sion about 4,600, and the 5th Division about 5,200. Approximately 
one-third of the strength of the latter two divisions was made up of 

The main supporting units for the task forces were anti-aircraft 
regiments. In only two of these could selectees be replaced without 
serious handicap to the regiment since they outnumbered 3-year en- 
listed men in many of the units. It was obvious that an organization 
which underwent a 50 percent turnover of personnel would require 
several months' training before it could operate as a trained tactical 
unit. No part of the Army was free from these restrictions. The 
National Guard included 37 percent trainees, and 10 percent of its 
officers were from the Reserves. Except in Air Corps units, about 
60 percent of the enlisted strength of the field forces of the Regular 

w Ltrs, DCofS to Dir, Bureau of the Budget, and Speaker, House of Representatives, 
17 Jun 41, w/incls. G-l/16117-78. DKB, TAG. 



Army in the United States were trainees, and 78 percent of the officers 
were from the Organized Keserves. 65 These restrictions on service 
became even more serious after new Atlantic bases were occupied, and 
after overseas garrisons including Alaska, were augmented. 

Early in 1941, the War Department realized it was confronted with 
a serious replacement problem in that the expiration of the terms. of 
service of the 1-year selectees might result in the loss of approximately 
two-thirds of the trained men in the military forces. Although induc- 
tion had spread over several months, the replacements for any par- 
ticular unit or team had arrived, in many instances, within a relatively 
short period of time. The 26th Division had received 9,941 selectees 
in all, but 9,600 had joined during February and March. 66 The 7th 
Division had received 10,863 selectees, of whom 5,500 had arrived dur- 
ing January and February. Similar conditions prevailed in the other 
divisions. It was apparent that if these trained selectees had been 
replaced with untrained men upon a fixed date the combat efficiency 
of the division would have been destroyed. 

This was the situation on 27 May 1941 when the President pro- 
claimed "an unlimited national emergency." At a conference on 4 
June, the Chief of Staff stated that he desired a draft of a joint reso- 
lution designed to permit the employment of the Reserve components 
in the same manner and to the same extent as the President was em- 
powered to employ the Regular Army. 67 The proposal to extend the 
service of the National Guardsmen and selectees beyond the 1 year 
for which they had been called to duty aroused extensive debate and 
brought charges that the Government was about to break faith with 
the men. 

On 17 July, General Marshall stated that he agreed that selectees 
with dependents should be returned home after 1 year of service. 68 
The Army had placed in operation the administrative machinery nec- 
essary to determine dependency by making use of Red Cross inves- 
tigations and statements from local induction boards with reference 
to changes regarding dependents that might have occurred after the 
soldier entered the service. The War Department made the final deci- 
sions in all cases after considering the evidence submitted. 

President Roosevelt told Congress on 21 July 1941 that a grave 
national risk would be involved unless legislation made it possible 
to maintain the full effective strength of the Army and give training 

66 Memo., Secretary of War to the President, 25 Jun 41. Copy in G-l/16117-78. DRB, 

6fl Ltr., Gen. Marshall to Hon. Geo, J. Bates, 23 Aug 41. G-l/16117-78. DRB, TAG. 

67 Memo., WDJAG, 12 Jun 41, sub : Declaration of National Emergency Joint Resolution 
for action of Congress declaring a National Emergency and Authorizing Use of Land 
Forces. JAG Oil. JAGO. 

^Ltr, WDAGO, 22 Aug 41, sub: Release of Enlisted Men during the Remainder of the 
Calendar Year 1941. AG 324.71 (8-16-41) EA-A. DRB, TAG. 



to as many additional men as possible during 1941. Congress opened 
hearings which were featured by lengthy and heated discussions* 

On 24 July, General Marshall told the Senate Military Affairs 
Committee that the immediate problem of the War Department was 
to perfect the force of about 1,700,000 men then in training or soon 
to be called. He pointed out that any large increase in the training 
establishment, such as would be necessary to train a large number 
of replacements, would disrupt the military forces. The training of 
so many new men would have required a nucleus of old men spread 
so thin throughout the expanded units that the efficiency of the whole 
establishment would have been lowered. On the following day, Maj. 
Gen. Milton A. Eeckord testified that "if selectees are released it will 
completely disrupt the entire Army." The situation was similar to 
what could be expected in war, only losses were coming from expira- 
tion of terms of service instead of casualties. 

Congress provided a solution. The President was authorized to 
keep the men in the Army, and Executive Order No. 8862, approved 
21 August 1941, extended for 18 months the period of training for 
selectees, -National Guardsmen, and Reserves, unless sooner released 
or discharged. On the following day, the Army issued instructions 69 
placing the normal term of Federal service for selectees, National 
Guard enlisted men, Reserves, and retired men recalled to duty at 
12 months from date of induction or date of reporting, but listing the 
number who could be released during the remainder of 1941 in an 
inclosure. Commanders were required to submit semimonthly reports 
showing numbers released, numbers remaining in each priority, and 
listing any units out of line with the remaining units of the command. 
Revised requisitions for the period 1 October to 31 December were 
required by 10 September. The j>eriod of service for National Guard 
officers was extended by certificates that higher commanders attached 
to September pay vouchers, rather than by individual orders. 70 It 
was a peacetime, not a wartime, solution. Three years later, when 
division commanders were calling for men, the Army could not turn 
to Congress to legislate it out of its replacement troubles. 

Replacement Tests During Maneuvers 

During the maneuvers in Louisiana in September 1941, replacement 
procedures were tested under simulated combat conditions. Maneu- 
ver plans distributed to units during August contained instructions 
for each army to replace real or simulated casualties through depots. 71 

69 ma. 

70 Ltr, WDAGO, 30 Aug 41, sub : Release of Enlisted Men during the Remainder of the 
Calendar Year 1941. AG 324.71 (8-16-41) EA-A. DRB, TAG, 

71 Final Reports of the Adjutant General's Section, GHQ Directed Maneuvers, Sept 15-30, 
1941. Copy of OCS 322 Repl (11 Aug 47) . DRB, TAG. 



Replacement battalions were on duty with the armies in the 1942 

As soon as the men arrived at these depots they were checked, classi- 
fied, and assigned to receiving companies. Observers believed that 
failure to give advanced warning that casualties had been shipped 
was one of the weakest points of the replacement system as it was 
operated during the maneuvers. Motor transportation was regarded 
as inadequate and rail transportation was not always effectively uti- 
lized because men did not always detrain at the point nearest to the 
depot. Command echelons in the depots were regarded as poor and 
security as inadequate. Men sometimes failed to receive their indi- 
vidual equipment. There was a play of simulated records which 
observers regarded as of little value because of its lack of realism. 
Recommendations following the maneuvers 72 stated that depots 
should remain within the communication zones so long as they could 
serve combat units from rear locations. It was suggested that each 
army should have a headquarters section to operate a regulating point, 
but that large and unwieldy installations of the replacement system 
should be taken from army control and placed in more stable locations 
farther to the rear. There was need for better liaison between the 
replacement depots and the rear echelons of divisions in order to 
give receiving units longer advance notice of the arrival of shipments 
of replacements and to give them enough time to fill subordinate units 
with men having the desired military occupational skills. 

The Joint Army-Navy Selective Service Committee 

Knowledge gained from operating the draft in World War I was 
kept alive by a group of General Staff officers who were members of 
the Joint Army-Navy Selective Service Committee. This committee 
formed in 1926 later became the nucleus for the Selective Service 
organization. The group proposed legislation, kept records, and 
trained the officers who later supervised selective service operations. 
When the expansion of the Army started in 1940, there was a need 
for men familiar with the reception, .classification, training, and 
assignment of recruits, but few were available. The Joint Army- 
Navy Selective Service Committee accepted the principle that volun- 
tary enlistments would be discontinued under Selective Service. Af- 
ter the war, many officers believed that allegations of favoritism and 
charges of proselyting might have been avoided had this policy been 
followed from the beginning of the mobilization. 

M See file OCS 322 Repl (11 Aug 47). DRB, TAG. 


The War Deportment Reorganization of March 1942 

The air arm, which emerged from World War I as an important 
new member of the combat team, grew in importance and received 
greater staff and command consideration. Air Corps officers proposed 
unity of command for the air forces separate from the ground and 
service forces. A staff study prepared by the War Plans Division of 
the War Department General Staff in 1940 suggested that division 
into air, ground, and zone of interior or service forces would be the 
most effective military organization. 1 Several plans were proposed 
but there was no general agreement. On 1 December 1941, the War 
Plans Division asked the other General Staff divisions to study all 
the organization proposals then under consideration and submit 

After the beginning of the war, the General Staff had little time 
to study staff organization, but a committee under the chairmanship 
of Col. William K. Harrison of the War Plans Division kept the 
project alive and presented a report which convinced the Chief of 
Staff that some reorganization was necessary. Maj. Gen. Joseph T. 
McNarney, who had been in England but returned to serve on the 
Roberts Commission investigating the Pearl Harbor attack, was named 
chairman of the reorganization committee. 

General McNarney told the committee he wanted a plan which 
would free top officers from administrative details. 2 He believed that- 
small personnel sections in the ground and air command staffs could 
administer personnel, but he added that Gl of the War Department 
General Staff must be an umpire to decide disputes. Maj. Gen. John 
H. Hilldring, Gl, WDGS, wanted to take Gl out of operations, but 
he stressed his belief that it would be difficult for any staff section 
to carry on its functions without consulting other staff sections. He 
pointed to certain administrative matters, such as assignment and 
transfer of Regular Army officers, on which only Gl was in a position 
to take action. 

!Otto L. Nelson, National Security and the General Staff (Washington, 1946), ch. VIII. 
a Minutes of Conference held in the office of the DCof S, 5 Feb 42. McNarney-Nelson 
Papers, WD Reorg 42. OCS Rec Sec. 

































2 < 





>■ CO 




a £ 

(- o 


< e 







CP * 















By the end of February 1942 the committee had worked out a pro- 
posed reorganization. The recommendations it submitted to the Chief 
of Staff were intended to make the War Department General Staff a 
policymaking organization which would have less to do with minor 
details but would have more time to deal with general plans. The 
committee's recommendations were approved in turn by General Mar- 
shall, Secretary Stimson, and President Roosevelt, 3 

The reorganization 9 March 1942 [see chart 8] established three sep- 
arate commands, the Army Ground Forces, the Army Air Forces, and 
the Army Service Forces, with commanders responsible for admin- 
istrative details. The War Department General Staff was reduced in 
numbers and its functions restricted to policymaking and supervision, 
along w T ith such inspection responsibilities as might be necessary to 
make its other functions effective. 4 War Department Circular No. 59 
ordered the changes and provided that the War Department General 
Staff should plan basic programs to be executed by the commanding 
generals of the Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, Army Service 
Forces, defense commands, task forces, and theaters of operation. 
Each command was directed to operate its own replacement training 
centers and schools and to conduct the basic training of recruits or 
draftees who were not assigned to replacement training centers. 

There is no evidence to indicate that the authors of this circular in- 
tended to make any changes in the replacement system, but it delegated 
to the Army Service Forces "the administration of all functions which 
are Army-wide in scope and which pertain to personnel as individ- 
uals, both military and civilian, to include preliminary training," 5 a 
provision which divided the responsibility for personnel between Gl, 
WDGS and the Service Forces. This division was more pronounced 
because the circular also said that Gl was responsible for those duties 
"relating to the personnel of the Army as individuals," 6 a function 
which was normal for Gl but which conflicted with the powers the 
same directive had delegated to the Army Service Forces. Confusion 
and misunderstanding followed. Responsible officers did not all agree 
that the reorganization of 9 March 1942 resulted in more efficient per- 
cedure. Some regarded the staff system existing prior to that date as 
sound but believed that the decentralization of functions had proved 
unsound. 7 

3 EO 9082, 28 Feb 42; WD Cir 59, 2 Mar 42; Hearings . . , SMAC, 77th Cong., 2d 
Spss., on S. 2092, 6 Mar 42 ; McNarney Biographical Sketch, DA Office Public Information, 
18 Jan 50 ; Gen. George C. Marshall, Gen. H. H. Arnold, and Adm. Ernest King, The War 
Reports (Philadelphia and New York, 1947), p. 105. 

4 Ltr, WDAGO, 18 Mar 42, sub : Allocation and Distribution of Enlisted Replacements. 
AG 341 (3-11-42) EC-C-M. DRB, TAG. 

5 WD Cir 59, 2 Mar 42, 7e(7). 
*IMd. 3 3c. 

7 Statement, Brig. Gen. Robert C. Rogers (Ret.), 22 May 52. HIS 330.14. OCMH. 



Administration of Military Personnel 

The reorganization of 1942 gave the commanding general, Army 
Service Forces, supervision over the Adjutant General's Office, which 
continued to act as The Adjutant General of the War Department. 
Within the Adjutant General's Office, the Military Personnel Division 
and the Classification and Replacement Branch of the Operations and 
Training Division were closely connected with the replacement sys- 
tem. The Enlisted Replacement Branch of the Military Personnel 
Division, TAG, ordered men to replacement training centers and as- 
signed the graduates, except from those centers controlled by the air 
and armored forces ; the latter arms issued orders from their own head- 
quarters. 8 

Outside the Adjutant General's Office, but within Headquarters, 
Army Service Forces, was the Military Personnel Division, which 
functioned under the Director of Personnel, Hq, ASF. After March 
1942, certain officers from Gl, WDGS, the Office of the Undersecretary 
of War, and the offices of the chiefs of the combat arms were reassigned 
to the Personnel Division, Hq, ASF. This Division, established pri- 
marily to gain better control over activation of units, designated per- 
sonnel for new organizations, thereby assuming important functions 
in connection with replacements. Under directives of the War De- 
partment it formulated and recommended personnel policies, plans, 
and procedures. 

The Military Personnel Division, Hq, ASF, exercised operational 
control over the replacement system under policies prescribed by the 
Assistant Chief of Staff, G-l 5 and the Assistant Chief of Staff for Op- 
eration, WDGS. 9 The primary purpose of the system was to deliver 
replacements whose records were correctly classified by occupational 
specialty and physical capacity, who were adequately equipped and 
clothed, and whose morale and mental attitudes were satisfactory. 10 
Representatives of the Personnel Division, Hq, ASF, made frequent 
visits to Zone of 'Interior replacement depots, processing centers, and 
ports of embarkation ; and in some instances visited overseas units. 

The Overseas Replacement Branch of the Military Personnel Di- 
vision, Hq, ASF, was activated 11 February 1943 to supervise the pro- 
cedures within the United States pertaining to replacements for units 
overseas. 11 It became an operating agency for Gl, G3, and OPD, 
WDGS. One of its first accomplishments was a compilation of all 

8 Memo for ACofS, G-l, WDGS, 15 Mar 45, sub : Overseas Replacement System. ASF/ 
210.48 GEN (15 Mar 45)-40. DRB, TAG. 

9 Memo, ASF, 13 Sep 43, sub : Responsibilities With Respect to the Oversea Replacement 
System. ASF/210.48. DRB, TAG. 

10 Memo for ACofS, G-l, WDGS, 15 Mar 45, sub: Overseas Replacement System. 
ASF/210.48 Gen (15 Mar 45)-40. DRB, TAG. 

11 Ltr, WD AGO, 11 Feb 43, sub : Decentralization of Personnel Procedures. AG 200 
WDGAP (1-18-43). DRB, TAG. 



War Department specifications for overseas service which was pub- 
lished in March 1943. 12 

The Military Personnel Division, Hq, ASF, handled matters which 
were Army-wide in scope and pertained to individuals, and also 
supervised all matters relating to personnel within the Service Forces. 
Officers outside the Army Service Forces sometimes resented the 
authority of the division to take final action on their problems. 
Many of the officers assigned to that division believed its functions 
should have been on a General Staff level because it was required to 
issue directives to General Staff divisions. 13 

The Operations Division of the Army Ground Forces staff computed 
shortages and requirements of tactical units. The Gl Division, 
WDGS, was concerned only with filling these requirements. Insofar 
as possible it was the policy of the Operations Division, AGF, to 
furnish loss replacements from replacement training centers to those 
units having completed basic training. Exception centers supplied 
filler replacements, except cadres, for newly activated units. 14 New 
units scheduled for early shipment overseas were filled, when possible, 
from replacement training centers or from old units. Priorities for 
the normal assignment of men from replacement training centers 

1st Priority — training needs. 

2d Priority — existing units in a task force status with less than 
3 months remaining prior to movement. 

3d Priority — existing units in a task force status with more than 
3 months prior to movement, or not in a task force 
status but having completed basic training. 

4th Priority — new nondivisional units. 

The Classification and Replacement Division, Adjutant General's 
Section, Army Ground Forces, was activated 1 March 1943 and became 
the Ground Forces agency dealing with requisitions for replacements 
and with assignments from Ground Forces replacement training 
centers. 15 This division was established after the War Department 
directed decentralization of control over the flow of enlisted replace- 
ments from replacement training centers and schools of the Ground 
and Service Forces. The War Department periodically allotted men 

12 WD Cir 85, 26 Mar 43. WD, Preparation for Overseas Movement (Short Title :POM), 
1 Aug 43. AG 370.5 (12 Jul 43) ; WD Pamphlet, 29-2, 15 May 44 and June 45. 

13 Report of the Replacement Board, DA 1947, bk. V, ann. 15. Misc 334 Board OCMH, 
Gen Ref Office. 

14 Memo, WDGS, OPD to AG, 18 Apr 42, sub : Personnel Assignment Policy in Ground 
Force Units. AG 322.96/375-GNOPN (4-18-42). DRB, TAG. 

15 Ltr, WDAGO, 13 Feb 43, sub : Decentralization of Personnel Procedures. AG 220.31 
(2-5-43) OC-E-WDGAP. DRB, TAG; History of the Classification and Replacement 
Division, Ground Adjutant General's Section, AGF, 1 Mar 43-31 Dec 45. 6-1 AE. 
OCMH, Gen Ref Office. 



from reception centers to each of the major commands. Distribution 
of these men to lower units then became the responsibility of each 
major command. 

After 1 March 1943, subordinate commands of AGF submitted 
requisitions direct to Army Ground Forces headquarters. Shipments 
against these requisitions were made in accordance with priority 
lists prepared by the G3 Section in AGF headquarters. The War 
Department determined the general policies relating to allocation 
and distribution of personnel. 

The Statistical Section of the Classification and Eeplacement Divi- 
sion of the Adjutant General's Office, established in New York, pre- 
pared the first loss replacement requirement rate tables during the 
latter part of November 1943. 16 These tables stated the numbers 
which would have to be produced in each primary specification serial 
number by the replacement training centers in order to meet predicted 
loss requirements. 

After the War Department, in an effort to conserve manpower, 
directed that overhead and housekeeping agencies should release 
general service enlisted men to the field forces, Army Ground Forces 
delegated responsibility for this exchange of personnel to the Classi- 
fication and Replacement Division. 17 Officers assigned to Army 
Ground Forces expected to receive 200,000 transferred general assign- 
ment men during 1943, but that number never was realized. By 
20 April 1943, some 12,085 enlisted men had been reported to Army 
Ground Forces from service commands, of which number 2,311 were 
Negroes. Service Command percentages of Negroes were much higher 
than the 10 percent rate established for induction. 18 An amphibious 
brigade, organized during the last half of April, took practically all 
available general assignment men. Army Ground Forces received 
about 4,000 men from 1 May until 10 June, after which the flow again 
stopped. It was resumed about a week later and between 18 June 
and 1 August approximately 2,800 men were received. In August, 
the commanding general, Army Service Forces, declared his com- 
mand could not absorb any additional limited service men, so the 
exchange was discontinued. 

After the War Department directed on 30 June 1944 that no armored 
or infantry replacements under 19 years of age be shipped overseas, 
it was necessary to withdraw men from divisions in training to make 
up shortages in overseas shipments. The G3 Section of Army Ground 

M Ltr, WDAGO, 29 Nov 43, sub: Requirement Rates. AG 220.01. DRB, TAG. 

" Memo, WD 21 Oct 42, sub : Reassignment of General Service Enlisted men, w/ind 
3 Nov 42. W615-42. DRB, TAB ; Memo, AGF, 3 Mar 43, sub : General Service Men 
Released by Service Commands. AG 220.31 (3-16-43) OC-T (16 Mar 43). DRB, TAG. 

18 Ltr. AGF, 20 Apr 43, sub: Percentages of Negro General Service Men Available for 
Assignment from Service Commands. AG 322.99/358. DRB, TAG. 



Forces determined the number of enlisted men to be withdrawn from 
designated divisions and, after approval by the Chief of Staff, the plan 
was carried out under directives prepared by the Classification and 
Replacement Division. 19 

During 1944, when there was a heavy demand for replacements, 
commanders were urged to train potential replacements on the job. 20 
Installations reported they were having difficulty in absorbing men 
with low Army General Classification Test scores, especially returnees 
from overseas. There was much "picking and choosing" in attempts 
to obtain satisfactory replacements for cadremen who were due for 
overseas service. Army Ground Forces directives stressed the neces- 
sity for units to absorb men with low classification scores and urged 
that remediable defects be corrected without delay. 

The Classification and Replacement Division, AG, Hq, AGF, during 
the period 11 June to 30 September 1944, conducted a study 21 of the 
quality of men received by Army Ground Forces from reception cen- 
ters. This study indicated : 

1. Army Ground Forces received 11,610 men, or 5.6 percent of the 
total, from special training units. 

2. Army Ground Forces furnished 7,694 parachute volunteers, or 
3.7 percent of its total receipts. 

3. There were 2,770, or 1.3 percent of total receipts, who went to 
the Army Specialized Training Program. 

4. There were 26,262 enlisted men at reception centers who were 
listed by AGF liaison, officers as not qualified for infantry, a figure 
which represented 13 percent of total AGF receipts. 

5. The policy which prevented reception centers from assigning to 
infantry and armored replacement training centers those enlisted 
men who were under I8V2 years of age was resulting in arms and 
services other than infantry and armored receiving unduly high per- 
centages of men with high physical profile ratings. 

Following a conference in the War Department 22 January 1945, 
it was announced that men from other services retrained as infantry 
would not be sent overseas if they had less than 17 weeks' service. 22 
Those who were in the depots and who had less than 17 weeks' service 
at the close of their 6 weeks of conversion training were given addi- 
tional training. The Eeplacement and School Command adopted the 
policy of assigning all men who had less than 6 weeks of service to 
infantry replacement training centers, which had longer training 

19 Ltr, WD, 2.0 Jul 44, sub: Assignment of 18-year-old Infantry RTC Grads. AG 341/ 
208 (R). DRB, TAG. 

20 Ltr, AGF, 26 Aug 44, sub : Utilization of Manpower Based on Physical Capacity. AG 
220.3/552 (LD). DRB, TAG. 

21 Memo. AGP, 4 Dec 44, sub : 'Shipment of Reception Center Enlisted Men to Replace- 
ment Training Centers. AG 320.2. DRB, TAG. 

22 Memo, WD, 25 Jan 45, sub : Infantry Replacements. AG 200 (WDGCT.) DRB, TAG. 

346225 O - 55 - 18 



programs, rather than send them to the advanced centers. 23 This 
policy was followed until the last cycle of infantry conversion training 
was started on 21 May 1945. 

Army Ground Forces studies conducted between August 1944 and 
February 1945 indicated that the induction of older men, taking place 
at that time, had lowered the percentage of men qualified for infantry 
training from 73.97 percent to 67.12 percent. 24 The War Department 
soon thereafter removed the 30-year age limit which had been placed 
on men assigned to infantry training. 

Proposals for a Personnel Control Division 

The three major commands were outside the War Department Gen- 
eral Staff and enjoyed great freedom in the operation of all installa- 
tions carrying out War Department General Staff policies. 25 This 
was considered necessary to relieve the General Staff of detail, but 
when the desires of the commanding general, Services of Supply 
(Army Service Forces after 12 March 1943), appeared to be in con- 
flict with the policies of the War Department General Staff, The Ad- 
jutant General found himself in the difficult position of attempting 
to comply with both. The Air and Ground Forces frequently looked 
upon the actions of The Adjutant General with suspicion because they 
regarded that office as a representative of the Army Service Forces. 
General McNarney had proposed that the Gl Division of the War 
Department General Staff should be the umpire in all disputes over 
personnel, but the complaints that were being received indicated that 
the War Department reorganization had made an umpire out of the 
Army Service Forces, which was one of the players. 

By 8 June 1942, the situation was so confused that the Assistant 
Chief of Staff, Gl, War Department General Staff, asked for clarifi- 
cation of his responsibilities. 26 No satisfactory written clarification 
was ever issued; understandings were reached by oral agreements. 
Army Service Forces issued instructions which made clear to mem- 
bers of the Military Personnel Division, Hq, ASF, that they were to 
execute only the military responsibilities of the commanding general, 
Army Service Forces, and that they were not working directly for 
any War Department General or Special Staff division. 27 Procedures 
varied with changes in administrative officers. 

23 Ltr } AGF, 29 Jan 45, sub : Infantry Replacements. AG 320.2. DRB, TAG. 

24 Memo, AGF, 5 Mar 45, sub : Manpower Board Conference. AG 320.2. DRB, TAG. 

25 Memo for Gen. McNarney, 29 Oct 42, sub : War Department Organization. Copy in 
McNarney-Nelson Papers, WD Reorg 42. OCS Records Section, 

2 * Memo, Gl, WDGS, 8 Jun 42, sub : War Department Reorganization, Gl/020 (6-6-42). 

27 Memo, ASF, 4 Apr 45, sub : Personnel Functions Army-Wide in Scope. G-l/020 
(4-4-45). DRB, TAG. 



An officer who was connected with Gl of the "War Department Gen- 
eral Staff during World War II later said : "The real error in the 
Army reorganization of 1942 was depriving the War Department 
General Staff of an operating agency to handle matters Army-wide 
in scope." 28 He explained that the difficulties of Gl increased after 
those officers who had originally served in Gl were transferred out 
of the Military Personnel Division and were replaced by officers who 
had not served in Gl. 

As mobilization advanced there was an increased demand for per- 
sonnel and the Adjutant General's Office was unable to provide many 
combat units with men at the required times. Army Ground Force 
commanders complained that too many men were going to the Service 
and Air Forces. In the fall of 1942, the G3 Division of the War De- 
partment General Staff became more seriously concerned over this 
failure to fill combat-type units 29 and concluded that more effective 
supervision at the War Department level was necessary for an efficient 
expansion of the Army. 30 

Two proposals were offered in an attempt to correct this situation. 
One staff study recommended a Director of War Department Services 
at War Department level who would control personnel policies. A 
personnel replacement service on the same level with Ordnance, Engi- 
neers, Signal Corps, and other services would have operated under 
policies approved by the divisions of the War Department General 
Staff dealing with both personnel and operations. Officers proposing 
the change sought greater efficiency by combining responsibility for 
replacements in the fields of planning and in those fields dealing with 
the execution of the plans. Another staff study proposed a Personnel 
Control Division which would be a part of Gl. 31 It was proposed that 
those functions of The Adjutant General that were Army-wide in 
scope be placed under the control of Gl, a move which it was said would 
eliminate the necessity for returning The Adjutant General to the 
War Department level. After studying the proposals, the Assistant 
Chief of Staff, Gl, WDGS, brought to the attention of the Chief of 
Staff the "confusion, complication, inefficiency, serious lack of coordi- 
nation" and other alleged defects resulting from the delegation of 
War Department functions to one of the three major commanders. 32 
This memorandum recommended a central agency under Gl control 
at War Department level to administer the Army-wide personnel 
system. Officers in G3, WDGS, and the Operations and Plans 

28 Statement, Brig. Gen. Robert W. Berry, 26 Mar 51. HIS 330-14. OCMH. 

29 Report of the Replacement Board, op. ext., bk. V, ann. 13, p. 2. 

30 Memo for Gen. McNarney, 29 Oct 42, sub : War Department Organization. Copy 
McNarney-Nelson Papers, WO Reorg. 42. OCS Records Section. 

51 Memo for DCofS, 13 Dec 42, sub : War Department Organization. G3 320 (12-13-42). 

31 Memo, Gl, WDGS, 7 Dec 42, sub : Personnel Control Gl-200. 



Division, WDGS, The Inspector General, and the commanding gen- 
erals of the Air and Ground Forces concurred in the proposal. 

The proposed Personnel Control Division would have operated 
directly with the personnel agencies of the Air, Ground, and Service 
Forces. It would have worked with the G3 Division, WDGS, in 
regard to monthly procurement of enlisted men, priorities for distri- 
bution from replacement training centers or reception centers, and 
establishment of quotas for the three branches. It would have main- 
tained liaison with the Selective Service System, acquainted the War 
Department with the manpower situation, and transmitted to Selective 
Service the War Department's decisions on standards of induction 
and other matters. 

One of the responsibilities of the proposed Personnel Control 
Division would have been the preparation of an overseas loss replace- 
ment plan. The commanding general of the Army Service Forces 
would have been relieved of all responsibility for personnel matters 
which were Army- wide in scope, but the control of civilian personnel 
would have remained unchanged. The plan stated that the reorgani- 
zation would not result in any increase in the number of officers or 
civilians on duty in Washington but could be accomplished by the 
reassignment of persons already on duty there. 

The allotment of 78 officers to the Military Personnel Division. 
Services of Supply, would have been reduced to 30 ; those officers who 
had been members of Gl, War Department General Staff, prior to 
9 March 1942 would have been returned to that division, then to be 
assigned to the Personnel ControljiDivision along with others who 
might volunteer, until the proposed strength of 48 was reached. 

This memorandum was brought to the attention of General Somer- 
vell, and on 15 December 1942 he asked General Marshall for a full 
hearing, stating that the proposed move appeared to him to be a "big 
step backward" not justified by any convincing argument. 33 The fol- 
lowing day General Somervell discussed the proposal with General 
Marshall and on 19 December 1942 the memorandum was returned 
"not favorably considered." 

Disapproval of this memorandum by the Chief of Staff ended the 
first of several attempts to centralize the control of the replacement 
system, but criticism continued. The system had many apparent 
weaknesses, both in the United States and abroad, but at no time did 
it completely break down. It was kept going by cooperation and the 
mutual efforts of the officers assigned to the Military Personnel Di- 
vision of the Army Service Forces and those assigned to the Gl, G3, 
and Operations Divisions of the War Department General Staff as 

33 Memo, Somervell to Marshall, 15 Dec 42. Copy In Report of Replacement Board, 
op. cit. t bk. II, ann. 6. 



well as the others dealing with replacements. Many believed these 
results were not due to sound methods but were achieved in spite of 
faulty organization. 

On 6 April, General Somervell proposed a solution along other 
lines. He recommended that Gl and G4 of the War Department 
General Staff be abolished and that all the functions and personnel 
of these offices be transferred to the Army Service Forces. He also 
proposed that the Logistics Group of the Operations Divisions be 
divided among the Army Air Forces and the Army Service Forces 
and that the Deputy Chief of Staff, WDGS, assisted by the General 
Council, should perform the function of an appeal agency. 34 General 
Somervell's proposal was not accepted. 

This confusion was not ended until the War Department, on 29 
June 1945, published instructions which definitely placed the responsi- 
bility for the overseas replacement system, along with a number of 
other functions, on the commanding general of the Army Service 
Forces, and so recognized the procedure which had been in effect since 
9 March 1942. 35 For all intents and purposes the commanding gen- 
eral, ASF, through the Military Personnel Division, Army Service 
Forces, directed the Army replacement system from the time of the 
1942 reorganization until the end of the military operations. 

Development of the Replacement System 

The extent of the requirements for replacements became apparent 
as military operations increased. ^It was not enough to replace men 
lost in battle : the replacement system must replace men absent because 
of sickness, furloughs, or disciplinary confinement^ It had to replace 
those swallowed up in its own pipelines. The replacement system de- 
veloped gradually: the early training centers, the schools, the per- 
sonnel pools, and the staging areas were not coordinated activities at 

By July 1941, the schools and training centers were reporting their 
available men to The Adjutant General and that office was using those 
reports to fill requisitions submitted by units and installations in 
need of personnel. The role of The Adjutant General as the operat- 
es a g enc y for the replacement system became firmly established at an 
early date. 36 

The General Headquarters of the Field Forces was established 
at the War College in July 1940 to direct and supervise troop train- 

34 Memo, Somervell to Marshall, 6 Apr 43. WDCSA 020 (4-6-43). DRB, TAG. 

86 Memo, WDGS, 29 Jun 45, sub : Delegation of Personnel Functions to Military Personnel 
Division. AG 322 Repl. DRB, TAG, 

36 Ltr, WD A GO, 1 Jul 41, sub: Distribution and Assignment of Trainees From Special 
Service Schools and Replacement Training Centers to Units and Installations, fiscal year 
1942. AG 341 (4-7-41) EC-C. DRB, TAG. 



ing and was augmented by the addition of a portion of the War 
Plans Division of the War Department General Staff. This head- 
quarters was abolished under the 1942 reorganization and Gen. Lesley 
J. McNair became commanding general of the Army Ground Forces. 37 
In July 1944, General McNair went to Europe on temporary duty 38 
and on 25 July was killed in France. Lt. Gen. Ben Lear succeeded 
General McNair and headed the Army Ground Forces until December 
1944 after which Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell became the commander. 
General Stilwell had been commander of United States Forces, 
China-Burma-India, and had directed military operations in China. 
Gen. Jacob L. Devers, who had commanded U. S. Army Forces in the 
North African Theater of Operations and later 6th Army Group, 
succeeded General Stilwell in June 1945 when General Stilwell 
assumed command of 10th Army after the death of Lt. Gen. Simon B. 
Buckner, Jr. 

Army Ground Forces interest centered in the activation and train- 
ing of units, and at the time of its formation it took only a minor 
interest in replacements. 39 However, both the Ground and Air Forces 
expressed some concern when Circular 59 delegated to the command- 
ing general of the Army Service Forces authority over Army-wide 
personnel functions subject only to broad War Department policies; 
they feared impartial administration might be difficult in those cases 
in which the Service Forces had an interest in the division of 

The reorganization vested the functions of the chiefs of the arms 
in the commanding general, AGF, and those of the chiefs of the 
services in the commanding general, ASF. 

The Adjutant General was the operating agency for the assignment 
of personnel to training centers, schools, and units, but the respon- 
sibility - for training ground force units fell upon the newly created 
Ground Forces headquarters. Army Ground Forces established four 
subordinate commands which were primarily concerned with train- 
ing and with replacements. They w r ere the Replacement and School, 
the Armored, Antiaircraft Artillery, and Tank Destroyer Commands. 
The Replacement and School Command absorbed the replacement 
training centers of the Tank Destroyer Command during the summer 
of 1942, but armored training was not added until 1944. The Anti- 
aircraft Replacement Training Center at Fort Bliss, Tex., operated 
under the Army Ground Forces headquarters and was not assigned 
to the Replacement and School Command until October 1945 when 

37 Biennial Report of the Chief of Staff of the United States Army, July 1, 1939 to June 
20, 19M. ... p. 13. 

38 Letter Orders, WDAGO, to McNair, 11 Jul 44, sub: Temporary Duty, 201 McNair. 

39 Report of the Replacement Board, op. ext., bk. II, p. 3. 



the Antiaircraft Command was inactivated. This was a short time 
before the Replacement and School Command itself became inactive. 

At the time of its organization, the Replacement and School Com- 
mand consisted of about 166,000 officers and men, but by the end of 
1 942 it had grown to 226,000 and by May 1945 it reached its peak with 
481,000 persons assigned and attached, including trainees. 40 

The chiefs of Infantry, Field Artillery, Cavalry, and Coast Artil- 
lery had activated and constructed the replacement training centers 
which came under control of the Replacement and School Command 
after the 9 March 1942 reorganization. No immediate changes were 
made in organization, but operations were standardized by regula- 
tions which were announced from time to time. Replacement train- 
ing centers which were transferred to the Replacement and School 
Command included Infantry: Camp Croft, S. C. ; Camp Wolters, 
Tex. ; Camp Wheeler, Ga. ; and Camp Roberts, Calif. ; Field Artillery, 
Camp Roberts, Calif.; Fort Sill, Okla. ; and Fort Bragg, N. C. : 
Cavalry: Fort Riley, Kans.; Branch Immaterial, Fort McClellan, 
Ala.; and Camp Robinson, Ark. (Both camps were converted to 
Infantry in January 1943 and moved to Camp Fannin, Tex., in 
September 1943.) 

The Camp McQuade, Calif., Coast Artillery Replacement Training 
Center was activated 12 J uly 1942 under the Replacement and School 
Command and optrated until December 1943. The Tank Destroyer 
Replacement Training Center at Camp Hood, Tex., was activated 
3 October 1942. The Infantry Replacement Training Center at Camp 
Blanding, Fla., was activated 4 August 1943, and the one at Camp 
Hood, Tex., in March 1944. The Replacement Training Center of 
the Armored Command at Fort Knox, Ky., operated independent 
of the Replacement and School Command until 20 February 1944 
when it too came under the Replacement and School Command. An 
Infantry Replacement Training Center was opened at Camp Rucker, 
Ala., on 12 February 1945. Infantry Advanced Replacement Train- 
ing Centers activated were: Camps Gordon, Ga., and Maxey, Tex., 
17 October 1944; Camp Howze, Tex., 18 October 1944; Camp Living- 
ston, La., 13 November 1944; and Camp Shelby, Miss., 12 February 
1945. Cadres were drawn from existing replacement training centers 
except at Camp Shelby and Camp Rucker where table of organiza- 
tion regiments were reorganized to conform to standard tables of 
distribution for the replacement training centers. 

Replacement training centers which were operating under the chiefs 
of the services as of 30 June 1943 included : 

40 AGF Study No. 33, The Replacement and School Command, p. 11. 6-1 AE3. OCMH, 
Gen Ref Office. 



Quartermaster Corps — Fort F. E. Warren, Wyo., and Camp 
Lee, Va. 

Engineer Corps — Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. ; Fort Belvoir, Va. ; 
and Camp Abbott, Oreg. 

Medical Corps — Camp Grant, 111. ; Camp Lee, Va. ; Camp Bark- 
ley, Tex. ; and Camp Robinson, Ark. 

Signal Corps — Fort Monmouth, N. J. ; Camp Kohler, Calif. ; and 
Camp Crowder, Mo. 

Ordnance Department — Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md. 

Chemical Warfare Service— Edgewood Arsenal, Md., and Camp 
Sibert, Ala. 

Transportation Corps — New Orleans, La. 

Finance Department — Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind. 41 

The Army Air Forces operated replacement training centers at 
Fresno, Calif. ; Kerns, Utah ; Amarillo, Tex. ; Lincoln, Nebr. ; Jeffer- 
son Barracks, Mo.; Sheppard Field, Tex.; Gulfport, La.; Keesler 
Field, Miss. ; Miami, Fla. ; Greensboro, N. C. ; and Atlantic City, N. J. 

The terms "replacements" "fillers," and "rotational personnel" were 
made official during the latter part of 1943. "Fillers" brought new 
units to prescribed strength for the first time (the term "filler" was 
also used in another sense to designate basic privates shown in tables 
of organization but for whom no specific jobs were listed) ; "replace- 
ments" sometimes called "loss replacements" replaced casualties or 
other losses in units; "rotational personnel" replaced persons overseas 
who were returning to the United States. "Rotational" and "loss" 
replacements were segregated in requisitions but once en route they 
tended to merge and frequently were not treated as separate groups 
overseas. Standardization in the preparation of reports, made possi- 
ble by following these definitions, aided the War Department in 
determining if requisitions for replacements reflected actual losses and 
correctly stated the needs of units. 42 

« Ibid. 

42 Ltr, WDAGO, 10 Dec 43, sub: Overseas Replacement System. AG 370.5 (10 Dec 43). 


The Manpower Problem 

The War Department during 1942 was more concerned with ship- 
ping units abroad than it was with the provision of loss replacements. 
The result was that units were sent overseas as rapidly as they could 
be organized and trained and the shipping facilities necessary to move 
them be made available. During the early mobilization period, the 
War Department was liberal with responsible commanders who desired 
to activate units. 

The Joint Chiefs of Staff held the major responsibility for the di- 
vision of manpower among the armed services. In the latter part of 
1942, the Joint Chiefs returned studies which had been prepared for 
them on the subject of manpower distribution with the criticism that 
those studies gave the Army too large a slice of the manpower re- 
sources. 1 As a result the size of the proposed Army was cut sharply. 
In February 1943, a manpower study indicated that the Army could 
be increased to an effective strength of 10,726,000 by 31 December 1943 
without reducing the civilian labor supply below that required to meet 
civilian needs and continue lend-lease production. 2 More conserva- 
tive estimates prevailed, however, and the troop basis was established 
as 7,705,725 men. 3 

During 1943, the Selective Service System was under the control of 
the War Manpower Commission, created 18 April 1942 with Paul V. 
McNutt as chairman. This relationship was ended by act of Congress 
after 1 year. But although it no longer directly controlled Selective 
Service, the Commission, an executive agency directly under the Presi- 
dent, was still charged with responsibility for an equitable distribution 
of manpower between industry and the armed forces. In its dealings 
with agriculture and industry, the Commission found it necessary to 
limit most of its efforts to persuasion, although it could insist on com- 
pliance by the armed forces. The Manpower Commission's problem 
was to make certain that both industry and the armed services used all 
the manpower available and exploited it to the limit of its capabilities. 

1 JCS 154/1, 24 Dec 42. DRB, TAG. 

3 Memo, WDGS for USW, 23 Feb 43. WDCSA 320.2. DRB, TAG. 
3 EO 9139, 18 Apr. 42. 




During World War II, the United States Army sustained about 
936,259 battle casualties. Nonbattle admissions to sick report num- 
bered about 17,000,000. In overseas theaters about 79 percent of the 
admissions to sick report Avere for disease, 13 percent for injury, and 
S percent for combat wounds. 4 Plans were made for heavy combat 
losses, but the extent of noncombat losses was greater than had been 

There was no precedent to indicate the number of men required to 
fill a global pipeline such as was necessary in World War II. 

In commenting on this phase of the war planning, General Marshall, 
on 23 June 1945, told the House Appropriations Committee : 

In the first half of the war in connection with the campaigns in Africa, New 
Guinea, and the major portion of the campaign in Italy, I would say the 
War Department miscalculated, if you choose to call it that, in not fully 
appreciating what it required to fill the pipeline of global warfare to keep 
things moving at a fast pace; wliich means to get the total number of men 
you want at the right place at the right time and in the right position. . . . 

In the original calculations on the strength of the Army we did not take 
into sufficient account how much time and mep were involved in going and 
coming, in sickness, on furlough, and so forth. . . . 

Our calculations were also off in that we did not take into sufficient account 
the large numbers of men required to form pools behind the Army, ready 
to take the place of casualties the following day if possible. 5 

The 1943 Crisis 

The manpower crisis during the summer of 1943 was the product 
of a number of causes. The total pool of available men within the 
age limits for military service — 18 through 37 — had become seriously 
depleted. In addition to those classified as unfit for military service 
for physical or mental reasons, occupational deferments in industry 
and agriculture removed large numbers of men from the available 
national manpower resources. But by far the largest single category 
of deferred men was that consisting of fathers not employed in agri- 
culture. On 1 September 1943, the total number of registrants between 
the ages of 18 and 38 was 22,212,000. 6 

Since it was necessary to plan service calls some months in advance, 
it became evident in July 1943 that before the end of the year, unless 

4 Gilbert W. Beebe and Michael E. De Bakey, Battle Casualties, Incidence, Mortality, 
and Logistic Considerations (Springfield, I11 M 1952), p. 16. This work gives detailed medi- 
cal information on battle casualties in World War II ; TAG, "Final Report Army Battle 
Casualties and Nonbattle Deaths in World War 11/' 1 Jun 1953. 

8 Hearings before the Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, House of 
Representatives, 79th Cong., 1st Sess., on "Military Establishment Appropriation Bill for 
1946," pp. 8-9 ; A rmy and Navy Journal, 23 Jun 45. 

6 Statement, Maj. Gen. Lewis B. Hershey, Director of Selective Service, in Hearings be- 
fore the SMAC, 78th Cong., 1st Sess., on S. 763, "A Bill exempting certain married men 
who have children from liability under the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 
as amended," 16 Sep 43, pp. 113-42, 



occupational deferments were restricted, it would become necessary to 
dip into the ranks of the nonagricultural fathers not otherwise de- 
ferred if quotas were to be met. The total estimated calls for the 
period 1 September-31 December for the Army amounted to 1,221,000 
men. From the 988,000 men then classified I- A it was expected that 
494,000 would qualify for induction. Men reaching their 18th birth- 
day during the period, and reclassifications from categories II-A (nec- 
essary industry), II-B (war industry), and IV-F would produce an 
additional 281,000 men. Thus, Selective Service was faced with a po- 
tential shortage of 446,000 in meeting its calls by the end of the year. 7 

Accordingly the Director of Selective Service, Maj. Gen. Lewis B. 
Hershey, issued on 31 July 1943 Local Board Memorandum 123 as 
amended, instructing the local Selective Service boards to begin to re- 
classify fathers and to be prepared for their induction on 1 October. 8 
Immediately a storm of protest arose. Draft boards resigned; in 
Washington Sen. Burton K. Wheeler (D., Mont.) demanded that the 
Congress, then in summer recess, be immediately convened. Senator 
Wheeler's demand was not complied with, but from the reconvening of 
the Congress on 14 September until the beginning of December, Con- 
gress and the press debated the issue. 

In February 1943, Senator Wheeler had introduced a bill in the 
Senate which called for the permanent deferment of all men who were 
married on 8 December 1941, who had children, and who had main- 
tained a bona fide family relationship since that date. Hearings on 
the Wheeler bill were resumed on 15 September 1943. From the stand- 
point of the Army, it was not so much a point of whether the men in- 
ducted were fathers or not but that the men, whatever their marital 
status, be gotten into uniform on schedule. As Gen. Joseph E. McNar- 
ney stated; "The military requirements are for a certain number of 
men who are physically fit to carry out the duties to which they will 
be assigned. If the men are single or if the men are fathers is really 
immaterial." 9 When the Wheeler bill was reported out to the floor 
of the Senate, it was there amended to permit the drafting of fathers 
but only after the pool of single men had been exhausted. In this form 
it was adopted by the Senate on 6 October 1943. 10 

In the meantime the House had been debating a similar bill and on 
26 October it approved a measure which would, like the Senate version, 
halt all drafting of fathers until there were no single men left. Dif- 
ferences in other provisions of the two measures made it necessary to 
submit the legislation to a joint conference committee, and it was not 

7 Ibid. 

8 Selective Service as the Tide of War Turns: The Sd Report of the Director of Selective 
Service, 19$$-4t (Washington, 1945), pp. 133-134. 

9 Statement, Gen. Jos. E. McNarney, 15 Sep 43, in Hearings on S. 763 op. cit., p. 31. 

10 The New York Times, 7 Oct 43. 



until 22 November that final agreement was reached. 11 In its final 
form the bill provided that, on a national basis, fathers maintaining 
a bona fide family relationship, if classified I-A, would not be called 
into service until all other persons in class I-A at that time had been 
called. Similarly, when quotas were assigned to the States, the same 
principal should apply on the State level. 12 

This long debate confused the local draft boards. On the one hand 
there was General Hershey's directive 31 July to commence drafting 
fathers on 1 October if necessary ; on the other was the possibility that 
Congress would prohibit the drafting of fathers. It was natural, 
therefore, that the local boards should proceed with caution. The New 
York Times reported on 2 October that the draft of fathers had com- 
menced in New York City, but that across the river in New Jersey the 
board had adopted a "wait and see" policy. 

The result of this reluctance to draft fathers was that by the end of 
the year, instead of having inducted the 446,000 fathers estimated in 
August, only 90,000 had actually been put into uniform. 13 For all 
practical purposes the long debate over the Wheeler bill and the con- 
fusion it induced into the public mind had been just as effective in post- 
poning the induction of fathers as a blanket deferment would have 
been. The effect on the planned strength of the Army can be seen in 
the failure of the Selective Service System to meet its quotas during 
the final months of 1943 and the early months of 1944. In the period 
1 September 1943-30 April 1944, Selective Service failed by 443,967 
to deliver for induction the requisitions made upon it by the Army. 14 

The Army Specialized Training Program 

Army officers realized that the Army would always need college- 
trained men, but they did not consider it proper to defer men from 

11 Ibid., 23 Nov 43. 

12 Selective Service as the Tide of War Turns, op. ext., pp. 166-167. 

13 The New York Times, 9 Jan 44. 

14 Calls and inductions . . . 


Call i 

Inducted 1 

Percentage of 
calls filled 





175, 000 
160, 000 
175, 000 

160, 000 
160, 000 
160, 000 

121, 652 

117, 563 
110, 840 

118, 456 
3 31, 370 
132, 652 
125, 499 



53, 348 
100, 347 
157, 784 
211, 944 

253, 488 
282, 118 
409, 466 
443, 967 



January „_ 

February _ ___ 



1 Source: WD ASF Monthly Progress Report, sec. 5, "Personnel," 31 July 1944, p. 6. 

2 Not comparable to prior months. Induction process changed from a 3-week furlough after instead 
of prior to induction. 



the draft simply to enable those men to continue in college. 15 The 
Navy, however, was willing to sign up individuals and leave them in 
college. This practice placed the Army in the difficult situation of 
either not signing up any college students or of meeting the Navy's 
offer and accepting a large number, but leaving them in college on 
active duty. 16 Military authorities expected to take men into the 
Army on equal terjns, give them all their basic military training, and 
then select those whose previous education, aptitude, and personal pref- 
erences indicated reasonable assurance that they would be successful 
if assigned to take courses in an extension of the Army school system, 
known as Army Specialized Training Program, and which utilized 
college facilities. 

Applications for enrollment in the Army Specialized Training 
Corps were accepted from enlisted men under 22 years of age who 
had completed basic training and had an AGCT score of 110 or more. 
These men were trained as scientific, engineering, medical, and lin- 
guistic specialists, who might or might not be commissioned. Army 
Ground Forces held that too many men were being diverted from com- 
bat units and that many of the most promising young men were kept 
away from officer candidate schools and diverted to specialist training. 
The students received such military training as could be given without 
interfering with their college work. Those who failed in their studies 
were returned to their units, but the plan provided for a continuing 
flow of college-trained men who could meet the requirements of the 
Army for men with such training. 

Proponents of the program claimed that if all able-bodied men were 
removed from the colleges the time would come when there would not 
be enough college-trained men to meet civilian or military needs. But 
critics of the Army Specialized Training Program sai$ it pulled out 
of the stream of personnel those best qualified mentally who were 
needed by the Army Ground Forces for officer and noncommissioned 
officer material. As a result, the Army Ground Forces had fewer men 
with high AGCT scores. General Marshall finally was convinced that 
the program would have to be abandoned if success were to be attained 
in the European invasion. The matter was presented to Secretary of 
War Henry L. Stimson, who also was convinced ; within less than half 
an hour Gl, WDGS, issued a directive to Army Service Forces for the 
breakup of the program, and all infantry personnel were withdrawn. 17 

On 18 February 1944, the War Department announced that the 
ASTP program would be drastically curtailed. "Because of the 
inability of the Selective Service System to deliver personnel accord- 
ing to schedule, the Army is now short 200,000 men who should have 

is Hearings before SMAC, 77th Cong., 2d Sess., on S. 274S, 14-15 Oct 42, p. 85. 

16 WD General Council Minutes, 6 Aug 42. General Reference Office. OCMH. 

17 Statement, Col. Thomas T. Stevenson, 22 May 52. HIS 330.14. OCMH. 



been in uniform before the end of 1943," stated the announcement 
which went on to say that the ASTP was cut from 145,000 to 35,000 
men. 18 Troop units other than infantry were authorized to select *4 
of 1 percent of strength per month. The remainder of the students 
were reassigned by the War Department upon completion pf Army 
Specialized Training courses. 19 

Overseas Shortages 

On 25 February 1944, General Hershey told the Senate Agriculture 
Committee that the Nation was scraping the bottom of the manpower 
barrel and that 10 percent of the fathers in III-A might have to be 
drafted to meet the goal set for 1 July. 20 On the following day, the 
President sent a message to the director of Selective Service and the 
chairman of the War Manpower Commission stating : 

The present allocation of personnel to the Armed Forces cannot further be 
reduced and there is a very real danger in our failure to supply trained replace- 
ments at the time and in the numbers required. Selective Service has not 
delivered the quantity of men who were expected ... we are still short 
approximately 200,000 trained men. . . . Today as a result, we are forced to 
emasculate college courses and trained divisions and other units. The Army 
will not reach its planned January strength until sometime in April or even 
later, if Selective Service continues to fall behind on its quotas. The Nation's 
manpower has been dangerously depleted by liberal deferments and I am con- 
vinced that in this respect we have been overly lenient, particularly with regard 
to the younger men. Deferments for industry include over a million non- 
fathers of whom 380,000 are under 26 years of age. Of almost a million non- 
fathers deferred in agriculture, over 550,000 are under 26. Agriculture and 
industry should release the younger men who are physically qualified for mili- 
tary service. The present situation is so grave that I feel the time has come 
to review all occupational deferments with a view to speedily making available 
the personnel required for the armed forces. 21 

The director of Selective Service immediately transmitted this infor- 
mation to the State directors with instructions to inform all local 
boards to review the occupational deferments of all registrants between 
the ages of 18 and 37, and on 24 March all registrants under 26 were 
required to report for a preinduction physical examination regardless 
of deferment status. 22 

By April 1944, the Army had reached its planned ultimate strength 
of 7,700,000 but some components still had shortgaes. Therefore in 
May 1945 the troop basis was raised to 8,240,000 giving a troop basis 
authorization that covered actual strength. 23 

M The New York Times, 19 Feb 44, 

19 WD Cir 184, 10 May 44. 

20 The New York Times, 26 Feb 44. 

21 Selective Service as the Tide of War Turns, op. cit., p. 73. 

22 Ibid., pp. 75-76. 

23 Kent Roberts Greenfield, Robert R. Palmer, and Bell I. Wiley, The Organization of 
Ground Combat Troops in U. S. ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1947), p. 235. 



First indications of shortages overseas came from the North African 
theater. Although that theater had received what the War Depart- 
ment considered liberal supplies of replacements, there were sudden 
demands for emergency shipments late in 1942 and early in 1943. 
The War Department, much to its embarrasment, was required to 
hastily assemble and ship the men to fill these emergency calls, thus 
throwing the regular replacement system into confusion. 24 

It was difficult for the War Department officials to understand these 
sudden calls, since the shipments of replacements to the North African 
theater had been several times the casualty figures. By 31 October 
1943, the War Department had sent 340,616 men overseas to replace 
losses covering a period when battle casualties had totaled only 59,429. 25 
There was a growing shortage of men in the United States while figures 
indicated that there should be overages in the theaters. As the prob- 
lem was studied it appeared that North African replacements were 
being diverted for provisional units. These conclusions were sup- 
ported in evidence later submitted by* the War Department Manpower 
Board and other agencies. 

In December 1943, the G3 Division recommended : 

1. That shipment of ground replacements to the North African 
Theater of Operations be stopped until that theater had absorbed its 
overstrength ; 

2. That the Operations and Plans Division of the War Department 
General Staff set up an agency to review all requisitions for personnel ; 

3. That additional efforts be made to have Selective Service deliver 
the full calls made upon it ; 

4. That the Army Ground Forces recommend certain units to be 
skeletonized or inactivated, and the men made surplus used to bring 
other units up to authorized strength. 

Although OPD concurred in all these recommendations except the 
one regarding shipments to North Africa, the Deputy Chief of Staff 
returned the memorandum without action. Since more drastic meas- 
ures had not been approved, a directive originating with G3, WDGS, 
was published removing all authority for overstrengths in units in the 
United States which did not have specific War Department authori- 
zation, except for cadres while they were with their parent units. 

The Ground Forces personnel shortage was so serious that the 
Deputy Chief of Staff issued orders to drain the school and overseas 
pipelines, to reorganize units under new tables of organization which 
promised more effective use of manpower, to suspend the activation 

24 Memo, Gl for DCof S, WDGS, 11 Oct 44, sub : Review of Replacement' Situation in 
NATO. Gl 322 Repl (S). DRB, TAG. 

25 Ltr, WDAGO, 20 Jun 44, sub: Replacements. AG 370.5 (11 Dec 43). DRB, TAG. 



of divisions from September to December 1943, and, when necessary, to 
redistribute men who had already been taken into the Army. 26 

The Army gradually reduced its estimates of the number of divi- 
sions it would need. General Marshall took into consideration the 
success of the Soviet armies and decided that estimates for the United 
States forces could be reduced by half a million men. 27 He believed 
that economies in the use and maintenance of training forces would 
provide men needed for a reserve. Manpower boards, intended to 
bring about economy in the use of personnel, were established through- 
out the country following a decision reached by the Chief of Staff 
while on his way to the Casablanca conference in January 1943. 
Maj. Gen. Lorenzo D. Gasser, who had been recalled to active duty 
after retirement and assigned first to the Boarcf of Civilian Protec- 
tion, Office of Civil Defense, and later to Headquarters, Service of 
Supply, was president of the War Department Manpower Board, 
which surveyed practices in the use of manpower and recommended 
corrections to the Chief of Staff. Subordinate boards, operating 
under the policies of the War Department bo^rd, were established 
in major commands in the United States and overseas. Military units 
were surveyed and men considered inefficiently used were ordered 
transferred to combat units if qualified. New tables of organization 
in July 1943 reduced headquarters and overhead, thus making man- 
power savings of about 8 percent in infantry divisions. 28 Unneces- 
sary decentralization was avoided in supply installations on the theory 
that large consolidated depots serving wide areas were more efficient 
than small establishments. The Army reached the end of its major 
expansion late in 1943, and the work of training installations was 
then concentrated to a greater extent on replacements. 

The replacement output in July 1944 might have been adequate 
had it been properly distributed, 29 but overseas commanders had 
changed their requisitions so many times that confusion developed 
in the training system. During the summer of 1944, when infantry 
replacements ?vere moving through the depots in the United States 
without delay, tank destroyer, cavalry, and antiaircraft replacements 
were moving hardly at all. 30 Changes in the type of units provided 
for in the War Department troop deployment list tended to defeat 
the Army procurement program. 31 By October 1944, requisitions 

26 Memo, WDGS, 3 Jul 43, sub: Recovery and Reassignment of Surplus Enlisted 
Personnel. G3 220 (IJul 43) (S). DRB, TAG. 

27 Hearings, House of Representatives, 78th Cong., 1st Sess., on "Military Appropria- 
tion Bill for 1943," pp. 54-56. 

M Greenfield, Palmer, and Wiley, Organization of Ground Combat Troops, p. 318. 

29 Memo, WDGS Gl to CofS 31 Jan 44, sub: Replacements. Gl 322 Repl (31 July 44). 

30 WD, General Council Minutes, 28 Aug 44. 

31 Memo for Record, WDGS, 6 Jun 45, sub: War Department Troop Deployment. OPD 
320.2 (4 Jun 45). DRB, TAG. 



from theater commanders for replacements were so excessive, so at 
variance with previous theater estimates, and so far beyond the 
capacity of the War Department to fill that officials in Washington 
expected early repercussions. 32 

Messages sent to all theater commanders on 15 October 1944 stressed 
the necessity of a retraining program in all active theaters and pointed 
out the need for withdrawal of physically qualified men from posi- 
tions which could be filled by men in the limited assignment cate- 
gory. 33 The messages pointed out that the training and retraining 
programs in the United States were designed to provide the maximum 
number of combat replacements, but that the number would not be 
sufficient to furnish all the replacements needed to support the opera- 
tions planned at that time. All theaters were called upon to accelerate 
their retraining programs with a view to providing the maximum 
number of combat replacements from their own resources. This was 
to be done by assigning limited assignment men to appropriate posi- 
tions, thus forcing out of such positions men who were physically 
qualified for combat. The message contained a warning that subordi- 
nate commanders would be reluctant to replace efficient men with 
untrained men, but it stressed that the success of the program 
depended upon the personal efforts of top commanders to break 
down this resistance. 

In the early part of the Avar there had been complaints that the AVar 
Department was inconsistent in directing personnel economies while 
at the same time permitting "traveling salesmen'' to visit the theaters 
and urge personnel increases. 34 Reports from Xorth Africa in 1943 
said officers assigned to military government units were building an 
"empire" ; after Gl officers on the United States and British staffs had 
handled more than 400,000 prisoners of war with the part-time work 
of one officer in each division, the War Department had directed a 
prisoner of war section be set up headed by a colonel and a number 
of assistants. The Gl of the Xorth African theater said his office was 
responsible for staff policy on prisoners of war, the provost marshal 
was operating the camps, and military government officers were not 
needed. 35 

A Disappearing Ground Combat Army 

Another manpower problem grew out of what Gen. Joseph W. Stil- 
well, then commanding Army Ground Forces, described as a "disap- 

32 Ltr, WDAGO, 8 Nov 44, sub: Overseas Replacements. ADOC-E-C 320.2 (30 Oct 44). 

3a Cable, CM-OUT-47154, 15 Oct 44. .Copy in Gl 322 Replacements. DRB, TAG. 
34 WD, General Council Minutes, 2 Nov 43. 
* Ibid. 

346225 O - 55 - 19 



pearing ground combat army." 36 Since August 1942, there had been 
such a marked increase in service and air troops and overhead that 
by April 1945 the ground assault troops constituted only 27 percent of 
the strength of the Army instead of 41 percent as in August 1942. 
Some military men contended that this reduction was a natural result 
of a diminishing need for assault troops due to the mechanization of 
the Army. They believed that armor and airplanes would prepare 
the way for the final assault of the foot soldier, making possible a 
great saving of human life. 

It was argued that these machines of war reduced the actual num- 
ber of assault troops needed in battle, but at the same time required 
a larger and more extensive line of communications. Although ad- 
mitting that the assault troops were still the cornerstone of the offen- 
sive, many contended that mechanization had increased efficiency to 
such an extent tha£ assault troops no longer were needed in such great 

Figures submitted with an Army Ground Forces study indicated 
that between August and November of 1942, the period when the 
Army manpower ceiling was being reduced to 7,772,200 and greater 
emphasis was being placed on air power, the effective strength of the 
ground striking force dropped from 41 percent to 37.3 percent. It 
increased somewhat, due to economy in service units and overhead, 
prior to January 1943 when it stood at 40.5 percent. There was a 
more pronounced drop to 35.3 percent by July 1943, the result of the 
shift to a 90-division Army. The B-29 program and emphasis on air 
power from July to January of 1944 cut the percentage to 32.9 ; and it 
was further reduced during 1944 and 1945 by increases in the number 
of service units. 

In April 1945, approximately 66 percent of the troops were in units, 
while 34 percent were students, on overhead, in training, in pipelines, 
or in other similar categories. General Stilwell feared this trend 
might lead to disaster in case of a tough ground fight against J apan. 

The Problem of Specialists 

The organization of the airborne units provided an example of the 
diversification of the Army Ground Forces during World War II 
which brought an additional heavy drain on manpower. 37 Teams of 
parachute officers and enlisted men were organized in 1941 from men 
in units or in infantry replacement training centers who voluntered 
for parachute duty, and in December 1941 six-man teams were sent to 
the infantry replacement training centers at Camps Croft, Wheeler, 

36 Memo, ACofS, OPD, for Cof S, 9 May 45, sub : A Disappearing Ground Combat Army. 
OPD 320.2 (1 May 45). DRB, TAG. 

& Maj James A. Huston, "Airborne Operations," MS in OCMH, General Reference Office. 



and Walters to assist in the selection of volunteers. After 9 J anuary 
1942, men in the reception centers who volunteered for parachute duty- 
were sent to infantry replacement training centers where they com- 
pleted the 13 weeks' training course before being sent to the provi- 
sional parachute groups. Many of the men received at the Parachute 
School at Fort Benning failed to pass the course ; a considerable num- 
ber drew the extra pay as long as they could without jumping, finally 
refused to jump, and were released from the unit. 38 

The Airborne Command was activated 23 March 1942 and on 30 
April 1942 was directed by Army Ground Forces to appoint a board 
of officers to visit the replacement training centers and interview 
volunteers in an effort to eliminate those who were undesirable. On 
16 May 1942, the selection of men for parachute training was made 
a responsibility of the commandant of the Parachute School and each 
infantry replacement training center was directed to make available 
105 volunteers weekly, a quota which was increased to 125 on 10 June 
1942. On 29 July 1942, The Adjutant General disapproved a request 
that the quota be increased to 175 ; by that time the infantry replace- 
ment training centers had already furnished 6,393 men for parachute 

The 82d Infantry Division was redesignated airborne and the 101st 
Airborne Division was activated on 15 August 1942, making it neces- 
sary to procure artillery, engineer, antitank, antiaircraft, ordance, and 
quartermaster, as well as infantry, volunteers. A considerable num- 
ber of the men needed were made available by forming cadres for the 
two airborne divisions from elements of the planned 72d Motorized 
Division which was never activated. The 11th Airborne Division was 
activated 25 February 1943 and the 17th Airborne Division on 15 
^pril 1943, both at Camp Mackall, N. C. ; the 13th Airborne Division 
was activated 13 August 1943 at Fort Bragg, N. C. 

The Airborne Command was authorized to train replacements for 
the airborne divisions and the four separate parachute regiments 
(501st, 506th, 507th, and 508th). This training was conducted first 
by the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment and later by the 515th 
Parachute Infantry Regiment. 39 

Accurate estimates of parachute or airborne losses were difficult 
to make and there usually was either a "feast or famine." The stand- 
ards for parachute duty were so high that there was always a limited 
supply. The deliberately inculcated cockiness of the parachutist made 
him very difficult to handle as an individual replacement. Replace- 
ment training center graduates were furnished the Airborne Center 

m AGF Study No. 25, The Airborne Command and Center, 19J f 6> pp. 33-45. 
OT Ltr, AGF, 30 Dec 42, sub: Activation of 513th Prcht Inf. AG 321/61 (Tnf). DRB, 
TAG; Ltr, AGF, 9 May 43, sub: Org of 515 Prcht Inf. AG 321/94 (Inf). DRB, TAG. 



where some training was given in glider, operations prior to overseas 
shipment to airborne units. 

In an effort to improve the quality of men going to airborne units, 
the Airborne Command, in September 1942, was authorized to re- 
assign to the armored forces, Second and Third Armies, officers or 
enlisted men who were physically disqualified for general service or 
those in excess of normal percentages for class IV or V AGCT scores. 
The commanding general of the Armored Force in March 1943 re- 
ported that he could not absorb any more low-score personnel and 
that he had sufficient limited service men within his own command 
to fill all of his needs. Airborne units, on 13 March 1943, were ordered 
to discontinue the shipment of physically disqualified or over age 
men to armored organizations. 40 

In March 1943, the commanding general of the Armored Replace- 
ment Training Center reported that requisitions for armored replace- 
ments did not specify the specialists desired, nor even indicate the 
type of unit for which the replacements were intended. 41 He added 
that this failure to indicate specialists nullified efforts at the school 
to train men who would fit into the specific types of armored units 
being used in combat. Officers connected with the Gl Section of Army 
Ground Forces believed that it w T ould be a mistake to make too great 
a refinement in the classification of replacements, but the officers 
in the G3 Section of that headquarters pointed to the difficulty of 
interchanging men from one position to another and supported the 
position of the commanding general of the Armored Force Replace- 
ment Training Center. A statement from the Classification and Re- 
placement Division of Army Ground Forces declared that the solu- 
tion to the problem would come through the preparation of indi- 
vidual theater requirement rates which would give AGF head- 
quarters information needed to determine the appropriate type of 
training which would fill the demands of the organizations overseas. 

Under political pressure and against the advice of many officers, 
the Army organized the Norwegian, Australian, and Greek bat- 
talions with the objective of using nationals who were not American 
citizens. In no instance was it possible to fill the units with personnel 
of the stated character, largely because such assignment was on a 
volunteer basis and these nationals did not desire to be indentified 
with any such unit — they preferred to serve with Regular units. 
After several months all three battalions were inactivated. 

Two Filipino regiments were organized with Filipinos inducted 
on the West Coast and in Alaska. These regiments eventually were 

40 Ltr, WD, 18 Sep 42, sub : Improvement of Personnel in Airborne Divisions. AG 
210.31/92 (Airborne). DRB, TAG; Ltr, AGF, 2 Mar 43, sub: Limited Service Personnel, 
w/lst Ind. AG 327.02. DRB, TAG ; Ltr, WD 13 Mar 43, sub : Improvement of Personnel 
in Airborne Divs. AG 210.31/982 (9-18-42). DRB, TAG. 

41 Ltr. ARTC to Gl, AGF, 1 Mar 43, sub : Requisitions for Armored Force Battle Replace- 
ments. AG 320.2. DRB, TAG. 



filled, but their readiness dates were postponed several times. Tliey 
were shipped to the Southwest Pacific, and it was expected that 
replacements would come from that theater. 

Some time after the relocation of the West Coast Japanese-Ameri- 
cans, a Japanese-American Division was proposed but a study indi- 
cated that personnel would be available for not more than a regi- 
mental combat team. The 442d ECT was activated at Camp Shelby, 
Miss., with the cadre from the 100th Infantry Battalion of the 
Hawaiian National Guard and other miscellaneous sources. Very few 
fillers were obtained from the Japanese-American relocation centers; 
the bulk of the unit's personnel came from Hawaii and plans were 
made to furnish replacements to the unit after it moved overseas. The 
numbers of replacements required and the time when they would be 
needed could only be guessed. Before reasonable numbers could be 
made available the 442d ECT and the 100th Battalion had suffered 
such casualties m Italy that the latter was eventually inactivated in 
order to provide at least a minimum strength for the 442d. 

Special replacement problems were encountered in the Eanger bat- 
talions, the 1st Special Service Force, and other units organized for 
special purposes as well as in specialized technical units. After 
the Chemical Warfare Service Eeplacement Training Center was 
inactivated the Army, Ground Forces sent heavy mortar trainees from 
the infantry replacement training centers to Camp Sibert for about 
4 weeks' training with the 4.2 mortar at that school. In practically all 
instances special units required search of Army records for qualified 
personnel and such searches interrupted training and administra- 
tion. 42 

Overstrength of the Army 

About the time of the cross-channel operation, the Army reached 
its ceiling strength of 7,772,200. It then became necessary to balance 
calls on Selective Service against expected Army losses for all causes, 
and a high caliber of crystal ball gazing w T as required if War Depart- 
ment officials w T ere to look ahead 9 months and make accurate estimates 
of the number of men that would be needed by divisions in combat. 43 

Matters were further complicated by a new accounting system 
under which published orders contained effective dates for organiza- 
tions to make entries of transfers in their morning reports. Thou- 
sands of men who had not previously been accounted for in strength 
returns were picked up, with the result that for the first time the over- 
strength was reflected in reports. 

The troop basis did not make sufficient provision for those persons 
who were being held in hospitals, and there were other categories 

42 Statement, Col. Thomas T. Stevenson, USAR, 22 May 52, HIS 330.14. OCMH. 
* 3 Statement, Brig. Gen. R. W. Berry. HIS 330.14. OCMH. 



which were not properly accounted for. Although there was a dis- 
tribution factor of some 76,000 men which represented a floating popu- 
lation, the figure was not large enough. It represented an estimate of 
the number in the feeder pipelines from civil life to the theater 
of operations and back to civil life again. It included men in recep- 
tion centers, in transit, in reassignment centers, and in rotation pools. 
It did not include a large number who had been assigned to units in 
excess of authorized strength, men who had been placed in provisional 
units, or all of those in hospitals. 44 

Once the ceiling strength of the Army was reached the active 
strength was reduced in proportion to the number of men who were 
hospitalized, but who still remained on the Army's rolls. Not enough 
men could be called from Selective Service to meet the monthly re- 
placement requirements of combat divisions. The only solution was 
for the Army to obtain a portion of its replacements from within its 
own ranks. For this reason, the retraining program was introduced. 

The Army was granted authority to carry as an overstrength above 
the 7,705,725 ceiling those hospital patients who eventually would be 
discharged, as well as certain hospital employees such as physical 
therapy aides, dieticians, personnel working for the Veterans' Bureau, 
and certain others. This latter group numbered 59,482 on 31 July 
1944, but since the Army was already 349,770 over its authorized 
strength there still remained a surplus of 290,288. 45 

The War Department constantly reviewed the troop basis and the 
deployment of troops in an effort to eliminate maladjustments. It 
also attempted to provide the theaters with the specific type units 
which they frequently asked for. While some adjustment of over- 
seas strength was possible, not much could be done that would make 
any appreciable reduction in the overstrength of the Army as a 

Actual strengths and authorized strengths of the defense commands, 
U. S. Army Forces in the South Atlantic, and in the North Atlantic 
bases were practically equal, and it was expected that the only reduc- 
tion likely at these installations would be in limited service personnel. 
Reductions were being made in Alaska and a considerable overstrength 
in the China-Burma-India Theater was expected to be reduced within 
a short time. 

Authorizations were being increased for replacement depots in the 
Southwest Pacific Area in view of the vast distances involved and 
contemplated operations, increases which were expected to eliminate 
the overstrength in that theater. The South Pacific Theater had 
become inactive and replacement shipments to it had been stopped, 

44 WD General Council Minutes, 17 Jan. 44. 

40 Memo, OPD for CofS, 9 Sep 44, sub : Reduction of Army Overstrength. OPD 320.2. 



but some new units were being activated from personnel within the 
theater. The commanding general, Pacific Ocean Areas, Lt. Gen. 
Robert C. Richardson, Jr., was advised to absorb his overstrength 
as rapidly as possible and to transfer excess replacements from the 
South Pacific to the Central Pacific, which was understrength. The 
European Theater was receiving mainly infantry riflemen as replace- 
ments, but shipments of units were being accelerated. In June 1944, 
authority had been granted the commanding general of the North 
African Theater of Operations to return 25,000 limited assignment 
personnel without replacements. It was expected that this would 
eliminate some of the overstrength in that theater but the shortage 
of infantry made that program impractical. There were no over- 
strengths in the Middle East or Central Africa. 

In view of the worldwide situation, the General Staff believed the 
overstrength could be reduced within 6 months by the discharge of 
men below physical standards, by reducing induction calls, and by 
the discharge of certain categories of men over 38 years of age. 46 
The measures taken were not adequate — the strength of the Army 
did not drop until October 1944 and then it fell briefly, only to come 
up again. It finally was necessary to raise the authorized figure above 

Units dropped from their strength reports personnel captured by 
the enemy, interned in neutral countries, listed as missing in action, 
convicted as general prisoners, and those who were AWOL for an 
extended period. All of these categories, by 31 August 1944, involved 
about 100,000 persons. After they were dropped from unit rolls they 
were no longer included in the strength authorization, but they were 
a possible source of overstrength since they would be picked up again 
if recovered. Beginning in October 1944, The Adjutant General 
computed monthly figures covering the number of prisoners of war 
and interned persons, those missing in action, AWOL, and in any 
other status who remained under Army operational jurisdiction but 
were excluded from the strength tabulation. 47 

In August 1944, the theaters again were informed that the Army 
was overstrength and that the inductions of new men were being 
curtailed in an effort to reduce that overstrength. 48 The theaters 
were directed to make full use of retraining programs which it was 
assumed their replacement commands had instituted. The letter 
stated that limited assignment men who were released from hospitals 
were to be retrained as replacements and, as soon as qualified, assigned 
to jobs within the communications zones. The letter warned that 

46 WD Cir 39, 4 Feb 43, sec. 2 ; WD Cir 92, 3 Apr 43 ; WD Cir 112, 1 May 43, Sec. 1. 

47 WD General Council Minutes, 9 Oct 44. 

^Ltrs, WDAGO, 19 Aug 44 and 30 Oct 44 sub: Overseas Replacements, AG 370.5 (10 
Aug 44). DRB, TAG. 



delay in starting the retraining program would result in a replace- 
ment shortage because only a part of theater requirements for replace- 
ments could be supplied from the United States after 1944. 

On 12 October 1944, the Army Ground Forces were directed to 
submit a weekly report of estimated availability of infantry replace- 
ments covering 2 months in the future, thus providing data not in- 
cluded in the monthly reports previously required. This weekly 
report provided the main working data for the Army Ground Forces 
and the War Department in determining capabilities within the Zone 
of the Interior. 49 

It was apparent by October 1944 that the efforts to eliminate the 
overstrength of the Army would have to continue for a period longer 
than 6 months-. 50 A study of the records disclosed that the soldiers 
listed as surplus were not necessarily the ones who could be eliminated 
in the first phases of a reduction, a fact which made the planning 
more complicated. Many of the men who at that time were in a 
surplus status were the ones who would be needed to maintain units 
in combat or for the contemplated buildup in the Pacific after the de- 
feat of Germany. 

Active theaters in computing requisitions for replacements were 
placing too much emphasis on combat losses and not enough on esti- 
mates of effective infantry strength. Each division engaged in com- 
bat required from 1,000 to 3,500 replacements monthly, many of 
which were for nonbattle losses. The Assistant Chief of Staff, G-l, 
War Department General Staff, in consideration of these factors, esti- 
mated that losses in combat areas were likely to exhaust infantry re- 
placements by early J anuary. 51 

Some consideration was given to proposals to reduce the strength 
of the Army by discharging men who were returned to the United 
States on rotation, but overseas commanders feared such action would 
interfere with operations. 52 

The strange dilemma of February 1945 in which the Army, with 
a total actual strength of 8,070,900, failed to maintain T/O units at 
authorized strength when the War Department authorization was 
only 7,772,200 and the troop basis ceiling was 7,705,725 was due to 
a little-known group of men who were in miscellaneous and non- 
available categories. 53 To determine the Army's actual strength it 
was necessary to add to the troop basis certain noneffective categories 

49 Ltr, AGF to AGO 12 Oct 44, sub : Report on Availability of Infantry Replacements. 
AG 200 (12 Oct 44). t DRB, TAG/ 

50 WD General Council Minutes, 30 Oct 44. 

a Memo, ACofS, Gl, for Cof S, 18 Oct 44, sub : Troop Basis Allotments. G3 320 Troop 
Basis (28 Sep 44). DRB, TAG. 

63 WD General Council Minutes, 9 Oct. 44. 

53 Memo, Cof S for Dir, Spec Trng Div, WDGS, 26 Feb 45, sub : Army Strength is Short 
of War Department Authorizations, 1 Feb 45. OCS 320.2, sec. 5, Cases 176-257 (S). DRB, 



not included in that troop basis and also to add "off-the-record" au- 
thorizations. On 1 February 1945, noneffectives plus "off-the-record 
authorizations" totaled more than 957,000 men who were not imme- 
diately available for assignment to authorized units. The size of the 
detachment of patients, which increased as a result of action against 
the enemy, could not be controlled. There were other categories, 
such as those in reception or processing centers and those being dis- 
charged, which were not on a duty status, but a considerable number 
of the "off-the-record units" were made up of men who held duty 
assignments. 54 

To determine the Army's ability to fill authorizations already made, 
or to fill new authorizations outside the troop basis, it was necessary 
to deduct those who were in these special categories from the actual 
strength. Staff officers thought that wide dissemination of the in- 
formation that a large number of men had been assigned "off-the- 
record" would lead to numerous requests for provisional authoriza- 
tions. As a result, this information was restricted to certain plan- 
ning agencies, but it* did not prevent many provisional organizations 
from being formed. Instead, this secrecy actually brought more di- 
versions. Planning and operating agencies frequently thought they 
were dealing with an overstrength and were liberal with personnel 
when actually they were dealing with an understrength and should 
have been economical. 

Since the actual strength of the Army was about 299,000 more than 
the authorized strength, many commanders assumed that this ap- 
parent overstrength represented a pool which could be used for non- 
T/O units or other purposes. On the contrary, the men had been 
absorbed by the pipeline or committed "off-the-record." There was 
an overstrength of 5,000 in the air force type units and personnel, 
but the ground force type units were 39,000 understrength and the 
service force type were 15,000 understrength. At the same time, 
Army- wide types (patients, trainees, etc.) were 348,000 more than 

In February 1945, the Strength Accounting and Reporting Office 
of the War Department pointed out that knowledge of the true status 
of Army strength was essential for intelligent decisions on many staff 
problems. Army publications generally attributed the excess figure 
to the large number absorbed by the pipeline to the theaters and to 
the detachment of patients. Those channels did contain the largest 
segment although many had been assigned "off-the-record" and had 
disappeared from view. 

B * War Department overhead in January 1944 was replaced by five groups including the 
JCS Gp, the SW Gp, the CofS Gp, the Misc WD Activities Gp, and the Misc Civ Activities 
Gp. See WD Cir 5, 4 Jan 44 ; WD Cir 19, 15 Jan 45, IV ; WD Cir 76, 9 Mar 45, V 



Personnel not subject to immediate assignment in units, ZI replace- 
ments, and ZI operating installations on 1 February 1945 were : 


Miscellaneous Units and Personnel strength 

Army Specialized Training Program Trainees 15, 295 

Puerto Rican Training Program 13, 023 

Civil Affairs Division Training . 1, 193 

Civil Censorship Training 41 

West Point Preparatory 788 

WD Detachment of Patients 370, 631 

Reception Centers 26,480 

Special Training Units 12, 515 

Redistribution Centers *21, 946 

Defense Commands' Overhead 1, 799 

Overseas Overhead 153, 521 

Overseas Replacement Depots and Training Centers *207, 838 

Processing Centers *3, 774 

Joint Chiefs of Staff Group 7, 916 

Secretary of War Group 319 

Chief of Staff Group 4, 771 

Miscellaneous War Department Group 1, 380 

Civilian Agencies Group 787 

On Duty with Veterans' Administration to Units Provisional to ASF 

Troop Basis 6, 327 

Military Police **2, 785 

Ordnance **538 

Not Categorized in Troop Basis 

WAC Training *8, 036 

In Process of Discharge 6, 266 

Industrial Furlough and Postal Assistance 56 3, 875 

Casuals in Staging Areas and En Route *51, 439 

Process of Reassignment *4, 986 

Personnel in Process of Evacuation From Theaters 20, 815 

Others 8, 447 

Total &a 957, 531 

♦These, theoretically at least, were moving to assignment to units as replacements for 
battle, attrition, or rotational losses. 

** Thousands more were in provisional units organized by overseas commands and by 
the commanding generals of Air and Ground Forces but which were not shown as such in 
strength reports except to the commanding general, Army Service Forces, 

55 Industrial furloughs were given hard-rock miners in an effort to increase copper production. Pcsta 
assistants were provided by the Army to the New York and San Francisco postmasters to handle Christmas 

w Authorized and actual strengths, Air, Ground, and Service units: 

WD authorized Actual strength Over or short 
Total „ . _ _ 7, 772, 200 8, 070, 900 +298, 700 

Air Force type _ _ 2, 302, 500 2, 307, 500 +5, 000 

Ground Force type 3, 194, 700 3, 156, 200 - 38, 500 

Service Force type i t 665, 100 1, 649, 700 - 15, 400 

Army- wide types 609, 900 957, 500 +347, 600 

Source: WD DCofS. SARO. "Strength Reports of tl^e Army," I, pp. 8, 9. 

During World War II there were four recognized strength yardsticks of the Army. As of 31 January 1945 
these were: 

1. AOof S, G-3 WDGS Troop Basis _ 7,705,725 

2. War Department authorized __ ___ 7 772. 200 

3. Commands authorized __ _ _ 7 954 710 

4. Ceiling set by Congress 8,' 240| 000 



On 1 May 1945, just before the surrender of the German forces, 
the actual strength of the United States Army was 8,248,780, of which 
5,455,076 were overseas or en route thereto and 2,793,704 were in the 
United States. 57 The authorized strength of the Army, under the 
troop basis in effect on 1 May, was 8,290,933. The detachment of 
patients had been increased from an authorized 270,000 to an author- 
ized 415,000, and the latter figure was almost exactly its actual 

In addition to providing authorizations for new categories and in- 
creased authorizations for others, the 1 May 1945 troop basis for the 
first time segregated by Air, Ground, and Service categories the 
authorizations for pipeline personnel such as casuals en route or re- 
turning from overseas and those in reception and redistribution 

The April 1944 Conference 

During the early part of 1944, the personnel situation was so con- 
fusing that War Department officials found it difficult to reconcile 
the figures submitted to them from theaters. The War Department 
General Staff wanted the theaters to adopt standard practices of re- 
porting, yet hoped the system could remain so flexible that theater 
commanders could use their own initiative in meeting local condi- 
tions. 58 Military officials in Washington decided that a personnel 
accounting system must be devised which would not only keep the 
War Department informed of the theaters' personnel situations but 
also would help the theaters keep their houses in order. 

Representatives of the North African and European Theaters of 
Operations were called to Washington to discuss the replacement 
situation at a conference which opened on 3 April 1944 and continued 
for 6 days. No representatives from the Pacific were present. The 
meeting was attended by representatives of the War Department Gen- 
eral Staff, the three major commands, and by a number of officers from 
overseas including Maj. Gens. B. M. Sawbridge and T. B. Larkin of 
the North African theater and Brig. Gen. O. B. Abbott and Col. L. H. 
Hanley of the European theater. Two papers prepared by members 
of the War Department General Staff were presented. One outlined 
a proposed form of reporting, and the other detailed a standard oper- 
ating procedure for replacement installations in the theaters. The 
first paper included a description of a new set of reports intended to 
improve methods used in requisitioning replacements and to prevent 
theaters from exceeding authorized strengths. 

BT WD General Council Minutes, 21 May 45. 

58 Record of Replacement Conference. AG 322 Repl (19 Jan 46). DRB, TAG. 



War Department representatives pointed out that experience in 
North Africa had indicated that commanders who had the right to 
form provisional units would not be able to withstand the temptation 
to use replacements for that purpose. In the military action which 
had taken place up to that time service units made up of replacements 
had been attached to some of the armies for landings, thereafter to be 
lost as replacements when they were most needed in combat. As soon 
as. the armies advanced far enough so that the Communications Zone 
could take over the rear areas those emergency- formed provisional 
units were taken over by the service force commander, who usually 
retained them permanently. 

At other times the diversion of replacements to fill provisional units 
was not direct ; instead, the men were taken out of T/O units which 
then had to send requisitions to the depots to fill their vacancies. 

After the conference opened, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Gen. 
Joseph T. McNarney, explained to the delegates that their .task was to 
set up better personnel conditions and to end "the present extravagent 
and inefficient personnel conditions which we can no longer afford 
to maintain." Two main steps were proposed: (1) To devise a more 
effective and accurate system of reporting theater strengths;, and (2) 
to establish efficient and uniform operating procedures for the over- 
seas replacement system. 

General McNarney continued : 

We have now reached our authorized strength and the acquisition of new 
personnel will henceforth be restricted to the numbers required to maintain 
a strength of 7.7 million. New demands for personnel not already provided 
in the troop basis must be met by corresponding reductions elsewhere. . . . 

In the early stages of the war, the War Department made every possible 
effort to give the theaters everything possible within the limitations of avail- 
able shipping. . . . Because troops were plentiful in the early stages of our 
deployment, many of our overseas planning staffs have, without doubt, ac- 
quired the habit of setting up their personnel requirements to meet every 
possible peak demand and then of adding some more as a factor of safety. . . . 
Extravagant use of personnel on one job inevitably forces some other unit 
to take on a job without adequate means. . . . 

This fact, I am sure, is not now understood in the theaters. If it were, 
the extravagant use of personnel that has to date characterized operations- 
in the North African Theater would have been corrected. Now it must be 
corrected in all current and future operations. The diversion of men shipped 
as loss replacements for other purposes must stop. Provisional units created 
to meet sudden emergencies must be disbanded and the personnel recovered 
for their original purposes the instant the emergency is over. . . . 

From the beginning of the North African operations to date the replace- 
ment system in that Theater has, from the War Department's viewpoint, not 
been satisfactory. Men shipped as loss replacements have disappeared into 
communication zone activities, while the demand for more and more replace- 
ments continues. . . . There has been no effective removal of able-bodied men 
from rear area installations for utilization in the combat zone, with or 



without training. Likewise, adequate progress has not been made in curtailing 
communication zone activities far removed from the combat area. 

If the War Department is to provide you with replacements in the proper 
numbers and categories, we must have complete and accurate information as 
to the status in each theater, and we must have accurate advance estimates 
of requirements. This necessitates material improvement in the present sys- 
tem, or lack of system, of reporting theater strengths, replacement levels, and 
replacement requirements. A -system must be devised that will be common 
to all theaters, that will give us the information that we must have, and 
that will keep your own picture constantly and accurately in front of you. . . . 

Any replacement system, no matter how efficiently designed and admin- 
istered, will break down unless all commanders concerned and all re- 
sponsible staff officers are determined to use every available unit, including, 
in an emergency, combat units, to meet sudden but temporary peak demands, 
to ruthlessly deactivate every unit which is no longer essential for combat 
or combat support, and to clean up the back areas as operations progress. 59 

Discussion at the conference brought out that it was essential for 
theater commanders to estimate their requirements at regular inter- 
vals; that a standard form for the submission of these estimates 
should be provided; and that a definite procedure should be estab- 
lished for the consolidation, comparison, and evaluation of those fig- 
ures. 60 Keports were to indicate not only actual strengths of theaters 
but also effectives and noneffectives. Uniformity of reporting forms 
was essential if data was to be evaluated and conditions in one theater 
compared with those in another. 

It was pointed out that too frequently requisitions were initiated on 
a single demand of a field commander and submitted without either 
taking into consideration surpluses elsewhere or considering what 
additional demands, just as urgent, might be made the next day from 
other units. There was urgent need for a standard requisition form 
which would be submitted at regular intervals and which would 
give an accurate picture of all the needs of a theater. 

Representatives of the Replacement Branch of the Adjutant Gen- 
eral's Office of the War Department stated that the salient features 
which the War Department had determined must be uniform in all 
theaters included : 

1. A focal point of authority and responsibility for the theater re- 
placement system ; 

2. Transfer of replacement units operating in the combat zone to 
field force commanders concerned ; 

3. Complete utilization of manpower, including physically limited 

59 Remarks of the Deputy Chief of Staff at Gl Conference on Replacements and Personnel 
Control, WDGS, 3 Apr 44. Gl Conference Papers (OPD Bulky Files). AG 370.5 #721. 

60 Memo, Mil Pers Div, ASF, for CofS, 21 Mar 44 sub : Oversea Replacement Svstem, 
ASF/322 (Repls). DRB, TAG. 



4. A system of credits or priorities for replacements which would 
assure orderly movement in required numbers and categories to major 
echelons ; 

5. Accurate data whereby both the theater commander and the War 
Department could know the needs of each theater which were to 
be weighed against the tactical plan in order to determine manpower 
credits and training schedules ; 

6. Prompt assignment to units of all categories of personnel to 
eliminate stagnation during long waiting periods; 

7. Separation of limited assignment personnel evacuated from com- 
bat forces from general service men who were scheduled for combat 

Officers from the North African theater explained that in that 
theater replacements usually were received by the divisions while they 
were on the line and that requisitions had to be computed on effective 
strength rather than on casualty M0S. Also, requisitions were sub- 
mitted to cover estimated losses 5 or 6 days in advance in an effort 
to get men to the divisions soon after they w T ere needed. 

Experience in North Africa indicated that a new division going 
into combat would lo re 3,700 men in the first month, but that during 
the second month the net loss would drop to 2,500 because 1,200 men 
would return from hospitals. After the fourth month of continuous 
combat there would be a constant net loss of about 1,500 per month. 

During the first year and a half of fighting 80 percent of the losses 
had been infantry, while 8 percent were in the field artillery. The 
theater was willing to accept loss replacements trained only as basic 
infantry on the theory that it was possible to retrain the basics for 
almost any positions except those requiring high technical skill. 

The hospital population in the North African theater in April 1944 
was between 40,000 and 43,000 men. General Sawbridge did not think 
it was possible to get accurate reports on the number of men who 
would be evacuated to the Zone of the Interior because the hospitals 
in the theater were scattered over 1,900 miles. He proposed that the 
entire hospital population should be carried in a detachment of 
patients which would take the load off the replacement system. 

One drawback against the War Department setting up an allot- 
ment of replacements to cover hospital populations in the theaters 
was the difficulty of determining how many hospitalized men would 
return to duty. Unless this factor was considered the War Depart- 
ment would have been shipping replacements for men who already 
were back in their posts which in turn would have built up additional 
overstrengths in the theaters. 

During the 16 months prior to the date of the conference, there 
had been 29,000 limited assignment men received in replacement pools 



of the North African theater. About 20,000 had been assigned to 
service units but the pool continued to grow. Theater representatives 
at the meeting did not believe that these men should be charged 
against the general assignment replacement pool necessary for units 
in combat. Since August 1943, the Mediterranean theater had 
assigned all its general assignment replacements to Fifth Army. 

The North African theater officials did not object to the War De- 
partment prescribing that there should be a separate commander for 
the replacement system, but they wanted to give responsibility for 
replacements to the commanding general of the Service Forces be- 
cause replacement installations were a part of the base sections. War 
Department officials said they preferred the policy in the United 
States where the Replacement and School Command, which had been 
formed by Army Ground Forces, was under a commander rather 
than a staff officer, but General Larkin did not believe that a replace- 
ment system commander could speak with greater authority than a 
staff officer who represented the theater commander. "If he followed 
that line of reasoning," said General Larkin, "a Theater Commander 
would appoint all his staff officers as field commanders." 61 

The Replacement Directive to the Theaters 

On 4 May 1944, the War Department directed all theaters to estab- 
lish theater replacement and training commands which were to op- 
erate replacement installations and exercise control over casual 
personnel. 62 These commands were to be responsible for the receipt, 
classification, and retraining of all personnel in the replacement sys- 
tem and for their dispatch to replacement units assigned to the field 
forces and units and installations of the communications zones. The 
commands were expected to maintain pools from which trained re- 
placements could be drawn to replace both battle and nonbattle losses. 
The War Department plan specified that replacement depots and 
battalions in sufficient numbers would be under the control of field 
force commanders, a requirement which was not always observed. 
Each field force commander was directed to designate an adjutant 
general from his command for service at the headquarters of the 
theater replacement training command and whose duty it would be 
to adjust the differences between estimated and actual casualties when 
such adjustments were necessary. Each theater adjutant general was 
required to establish a casualty and requirement section to maintain 
statistical data on replacements. [See chart 9 for proposed replace- 
ment system.] 

61 Record of Replacement Conference. AG 322 Repl (19 Jan 46). DRB, TAG. 
^Ltr, WD, 4 May 44, sub: Operation of Theater Replacement System. AG 320.2 (29 
Apr 44) OC-E-WDGAP. DRB, TAG. 



In an effort to use in combat all men physically qualified and to 
provide Other assignments for all those unfit for combat duty, the 
War Department directed theaters to establish, under the theater ad- 
jutants general, personnel audit teams which were to inspect all com- 
munications zone units. Medical members were assigned to the teams 
to assist in determining physical classifications of the men examined. 
Centers were to be established where such training as was necessary 
prior to reassignment of the men would be conducted. 

Because soldiers returning to their units from hospitals sometimes 
had a bad effect on the new replacements, men going to the front were 
required to move in separate channels from those going from front to 
rear. A few wounded veterans were inclined to tell hair-raising stories 
about their battle experiences. One story sometimes told to a replace- 
ment was that he would be taken to the front in the same ambulance 
that would pick up the dead or wounded man whose place in combat 
he was about to take. The inference was that the replacement him- 
self would be the patient on the next trip out. 63 

Returning men directly from hospitals to their units was consid- 
ered in some instances, but complete records and equipment frequently 
were not at hand, transportation sometimes was not available, and it 
was sometimes necessary to divert men to units other than their own. 
It was considered more satisfactory to return the wounded men 
through a separate channel in the replacement system. 

As an example of accounting difficulties sometimes encountered, it 
was pointed out that many of the units that passed through North 
Africa on their way to China, Burma, or India were staged at Casa- 
blanca or Bizerte. When these traveling units were in the base sec- 
tions their numbers showed on the latter strength reports, thereby 
causing confusion. The Atlantic Base Section at Casablanca, which 
normally had a strength of about 3,000 officers and men, sometimes 
showed a strength of 20,000 because of the men awaiting shipment to 
other theaters. 

Three things were essential in reporting strength. The War De- 
partment needed to know: (1) the effective strength of T/O units, 
starting with the previous report and accounting for changes; (2) 
effective strength of overhead; and (3) the replacement level for all 
purposes, showing separately those in the detachment of patients. 
Some indication was needed as to the number likely to be lost during 
the coming month, including those scheduled for rotation. Men in 
confinement were still part of the effective strength and it was stressed 
that they should do useful work. 

^Cpl Ed Hogan, "On the Replacement System," Stars and Stripes (Rome Edition), 
10-16 Dec 44. 




z <" 

< z 

Z U 

<< , 
<P -J 

< tt 

z uj 

» to 

tC LU 

< > 

X o 

346225 O - 55 - 20 



As a first step toward standardized reporting procedures, the April 
conference adopted three reporting forms to be used in all theaters. 
Form I was for the submission of estimates by theater commanders; 
Form II was for reporting the status of personnel in each theater to 
clearly show the theater's needs ; while Form III was for the requisi- 
tion of replacements. Each theater submitted all three forms monthly. 
Form I, forecasting requirements for a 6-month period, upon arrival 
at the War Department was checked by Gl, WDGS, after which the 
Operations Division used it in considering the troop basis, utilization 
of shipping, and projected operations. After receipt of Forms II and 
III and approval of requisitions by the War Department, the direc- 
tor of the Military Personnel Division, Army Service Forces, di- 
rected the shipment of Air, Ground, and Service replacements and rota- 
tional personnel. The approved authorized replacement level, which 
was the strength authorized above T/O units and overhead allotments, 
was based on the number in the pipeline, men in hospitals unassigned 
to units, and on anticipated losses. 

The War Department letters, prepared by a subcommittee of the 
conference, were placed in final form and sent to overseas theaters on 
4: and 15 May. 64 The theaters were required to conduct a program of 
retraining and reassigning limited and general service men withdrawn 
from the communications zone and from the surplus in replacement 

To meet the objections raised by representatives of the theaters, the 
wording of the instructions was modified to delete the word "com- 
mander." As amended, the instructions simply stated that "all un- 
assigned personnel in the theater will be brought under the replace- 
ment system." Although the opposition of theater commanders kept 
this specific requirement out of the directive, one War Department 
official present at the conference said : "All of us believe that some such 
control is essential if you are going to correct the difficulties that 
occurred in North Africa. That is not the opinion of one man, but of 
many coming back to the United States." 65 Theater commanders 
were informed by letter, however, that the War Department consid- 
ered it advisable for one commander to have sole responsibility for 
the replacement system. This letter was the authority on which the 
theaters operated their replacement commands. 

The new reporting system required a complete status report of 
effective personnel but its complexity reduced its effectiveness. The 

64 Ltr, WDAGO, 4 May 44, sub : Operation of Theater Replacement System. AG 320.2 
(29 Apr 44) OC-E-WDGAP. DRB, TAG; Ltr, WDAGO, 15 May 44, sub: Overseas 
Replacement System — Estimates, Reports, and Requisitions. AG 300.2 (13 May 44) 

65 Record of Replacement Conference. AG 322 Repl (19 Jan 46). DRB, TAG. 



status report consisted of 8 sections with 72 subject entries, some of 
which required involved algebraic computations. Estimates of re- 
quirements covered 6-month periods. 66 By 19 February 1945, the 
number of strength and replacement reports required from the 
theaters had been reduced from 22 to 17. 67 

The plan which the War Department sent to the theaters 68 pro- 
vided that replacements were not to be used for purposes other than 
maintaining units at authorized strengths unless prior War Depart- 
ment approval was obtained. It called for a continuous audit of per- 
sonnel and an efficient training and assignment system. The principle 
that replacements were to be considered as a second line of reserves 
was approved. Requisitions from units were to go to theater replace- 
ment and training commands while casualty and requirements sec- 
tions in the offices of the theater adjutants general were to maintain 
data on casualties and assignment. 

The 1944 Committee on Personnel Procedures 

General McNarney on 3 April 1944 told the General Council of 
the War Department General Staff that the troop basis must become 
an instrument for the control of the size of the Army and he an- 
nounced the appointment of a committee to devise more effective re- 
porting and accounting forms and procedures and to make a general 
study of the personnel system. This committee started where the 
April conference with the European and North African theaters rep- 
resentatives left off and was to make sure that the reforms agreed 
upon during that conference were carried out. The efforts of four 
subcommittees were directed by a steering group made up of Brig. 
Gen. I. Willard Irvine, Brig. Gen. Otto L. Nelson, Jr., and Mr. L. W. 
Hoelschor of the Bureau of the Budget. 69 The first meeting was held 
in the Pentagon on 8 April 1944 and a final report was submitted 29 
May 1944. 70 

First, the committee found there were too many papers dealing with 
the personnel system and recommended that all the rules be collected 
into a single document. The report then said that in too many in- 
stances directives affecting the flow of replacements had not been 

M Ltr, WDAGO, 15 May 44, sub: Overseas Repl icement System — Estimates, Reports, 
and Requisitions. AG 320.2 (13 May 44) OC-E-SPGAR. DRB, TAG; WD AGO Forms 
No. 655, 656, and 657. 

6T Memo, AG to WDGS, 19 Feb 45, sub : Proposed Revision of Strength Reports and 
Replacement Requisitions. OCS 320.2. DRB, TAG. 

68 Ltr, WDAGO, 4 May 44, sub : Operation of Theater Replacement System. AG 320.2 
(29 Apr 44). DRB, TAG. 

69 Ltr, WDAGO, 6 Apr 44, sub : Committee of Officers to Establish Procedures for Per- 
sonnel and Troop Basis Control. AG 320.2 (6 Apr. 4) PO-A. DRB, TAG. 

70 Memo for DCofS, 29 May 44, sub: Replacement System. AG 322 Repl (8 Jun 44). 



cleared with G3, WDGS, and it recommended closer coordination 
among staff agencies. It went on to state that : 

1. The War Department rotational policy then in operation was 
presenting administrative and training difficulties which made it ad- 
visable to restudy the plan. 

2. The War Department analysis of overseas requisitions for 
personnel had been primarily a comparison of the requisitions 
against availability within the United States, and only secondarily 
an evaluation of the actual requirements of the theater or a compari- 
son with the requirements of planned operations. 

3. Theater requisitions frequently represented desires rather than 

4. There was a lack of responsibility within the Gl Division of the 
War Department General Staff for the checking and evaluating of 
theater requisitions. 

5. The War Department had not been informed promptly of thea- 
ter surpluses arising out of unit reorganizations, inactivations, hospi- 
tal discharges, and other sources. 

6. The whole system of filling overseas requisitions lacked control. 
The persons on the War Department General Staff who took action 
on requests for replacements sometimes did not have time to get the 
entire overseas picture before making decisions. 

7. There was no uniform procedure for obtaining prompt decisions 
when requisitions exceeded availabilities. 

8. Neither theater commanders nor the War Department had estab- 
lished adequate policing to prevent diversion of personnel to purposes 
other than those for which they were requisitioned. 

9. The computation of replacement levels was not clear. 

10. There had been transfers overseas from one major command 
to another which had not been reported to the higher commanders 

11. Overseas requisitions arrived at the War Department at dif- 
ferent times during the month and were ordinarily handled on an 
individual basis without proper consideration for the needs of all 

12. Theaters submitted too many special requisitions. 

13. There appeared to be no close tieup between theater activations 
and inactivations, and numerous changes in nomenclature had ag- 
gravated this problem. 

14. Improper distribution of personnel apparently was causing 
many subordinate commands to need more personnel at a time when 
the Army as a whole was at full strength or overstrength. 

15. There was some evidence of overclassification in the op- 
eration of the MOS system indicated by the accumulation in the pools 



of men with MOS numbers not frequently called for in requisitions. 
(The committee submitted a list of MOS numbers which were con- 
sidered surplus.) 71 

The subcommittee which considered replacement training studied 
a proposal for centralized control which General McNarney feared 
would set up a fourth major command and would be unworkable. 
General McXarney offered the following comments in this proposal : 

Overseas we are putting the responsibility on the theater commanders. 
Over here you can do the same thing in effect by placing responsibility on the 
three major commands. The other plan merely sets up a fourth command — A 
Replacement and Training Command. I doubt whether that is desirable at 
this time. 

I wish you people would work to see what better control you can set up 
within the three major commands before you tell me I must set up a big con- 
trol in the War Department or organize a major command. Both are things 
I am opposed to. I would only ask the Chief of Staff to approve it in the 
case that you show me you can't instigate necessary controls in your present 
organization. I am afraid you are on the track where you will get a dis- 
approval. 72 

The report as submitted 29 May delineated the responsibilities of the 
War Department General Staff divisions and the commanding gen- 
erals of the major commands without making any major changes. 73 
It recorded in more specific language many of the procedures already 
in effect in the handling of replacements. The principal result of the 
3 months of study of the replacement system was the edition of War 
Department General Staff Circular 11-3 which appeared on 20 June 
1944. It compiled into one publication the regulations governing 
General Staff procedures relating to the replacement system. Since 
War Department General Staff circulars were not directives in them- 
selves, a specific directive was issued to Army Service Forces relative 
to its responsibilities. 74 

Army Service Forces was required to estimate each month for the 
General Staff the replacement requirements by month for at least 6 
months in advance for newly activated units in the United States, for 
increases in overhead of installations in the United States, and for 
the number necessary to maintain units and installations in the United 
States at authorized strengths. The Service Forces also estimated 
available personnel by months for at least 6 months in advance show- 
ing separately numbers available for requirements in the United 

71 Memo for WDGS, 26 Apr 44, sub : System for Providing Training Individuals for 
Overseas Theaters. AG 322 Repl (8 Jun 44) (C). DRB, TAG. 

72 Memo for DCofS, 29 May 44, sub: Replacement System. AG 322 Repl (8 Jun 44). 

"Memo for WDGS, 26 Apr 44, sub-: System for Providing Training Individuals for 
Overseas Theaters. AG 322 Repl (8 Jun 44) (C). DRB, TAG. 

74 Memo, AG to ASF, not dated, sub : War Department General Staff Personnel Replace- 
ment System. AG 322 Repl. ASF Cont Div Files, Dr. G-199. DRB, TAG. 



States, for overseas replacements by branch, and the numbers to be 
available to each major command from the detachment of patients in 
the United States, redistribution stations, and similar installations 
handling casual personnel, but excluding inductees at reception cen- 
ters. The Army Service Forces also prepared for the General Staff 
information as to the progress of individual training including length 
of courses, numbers and sources of trainees, and the disposition of 
trained or partially trained personnel. 75 

At the General Council meeting 26 June 1944, General McNarney 
commented on Circular 11-3 and again expressed his belief that it 
was impossible to centralize responsibility for replacements within one 
division of the General Staff, He added that operations having to do 
with replacements could not be centralized because they cut across all 
the three major commands. 

Another result of the reports of this committee was the opening 
on 28 May 1944 of the Strength Accounting and Eeporting Office, 
Office, Deputy Chief of Staff, and the preparation of the troop basis 
by machine records. 76 Since the four major theaters submitted data 
for "Strength Reports of the Army" by teletype while reports from 
other theaters and overseas commands were received by radio, strength 
data which previously had not been available in less than 39 days 
could be distributed in 18 days. On 10 January 1946, the Strength 
Accounting and Reporting Office was merged with the Statistics 
Branch of the Office of the Chief of Staff to form the Strength Ac- 
counting and Statistics Office, Office of the Chief of Staff. 

The December Conferences 

War Department officials knew that replacement shipments to the 
European theater from the United States had been sufficient to cover 
reported infantry casualties, and since there had been a sizable pool 
of replacements on D-day they were unable to understand why the 
theater did not have enough men. 77 It appeared to officials in Wash- 
ington that another conference to review accounting and control pro- 
cedures might be of value. Maj. Gen. EL R. Bull of the SHAEF staff 
was in Washington 1 December 1944 and discussed the replacement 
situation with representatives of Gl, G3, and OPD of the War De- 
partment General Staff. General Bull was informed that the War 

75 Ltr, WDAGO, 15 May 44, sub : Overseas Replacement System, Estimates, Reports 
and Requisitions. AG 300.2 (13 May 44) OC-E-SPGAR. DRB, TAG; WD Cir 267, 
30 Jun 44 ; WD Cir 39, 1 Feb 45. 

76 WD General Staff Circular, 5-15, 15 Jun 44; WD General Staff Circular 5-16, 15 Jul 
44; "The Strength Accounting and Reporting Office," 7 Mar 46. 2-1.1 AA. OCMH, 
General Reference Office. 

w Memo, WDGS, 28 Dec 44, sub : ETO Replacement Conference.. Gl 322 Repl. DRB, 



Department, by exhausting every resource available in the Zone of the 
Interior, was preparing to furnish all theaters about 80,000 replace- 
ments per month during the period February to April of 1945. 78 
These would include about 60,000 infantry per month of which 70 to 
75 percent would be rifle-company trained. The shipments for Janu- 
ary were estimated at about 15,000 below those figures. War Depart- 
ment officials pointed out that even though induction figures were 
immediately increased, a move which was considered improbable with 
the Army overstrength, the overseas shipments could not be increased 
during the period under consideration if men were to receive adequate 
training. Meanwhile the period of training for one replacement 
training center class in the United States was reduced from 17 to 16 
weeks and another class was released after 15 weeks. 

General Bull was given charts showing ETO monthly estimates and 
actual requisitions for replacements. It was pointed out that replace- 
ment production in the Zone of Interior was based on theater monthly 
estimates. Requisitions could not be met unless they closely reflected 
estimates made 4 months previously. A War Department analysis 
of theater estimates and requisitions had led to the conclusion that the 
estimates much more accurately reflected true theater requirements 
than the requisitions. The War Department wanted to know if the 
casualty figures it had received were correct, if infantrymen had been 
used for other than infantry units, and it wanted more details on the 
December losses. The Battle of the Bulge had caused a heavy demand 
for men and few were available within the United States. 

Consequently, representatives of the European Theater of Opera- 
tions were called to Washington for a conference which opened the last 
week in December. 79 The theater representatives explained that they 
were seeking action in the United States which would carry their 
armies through the December and J anuary emergency. The delegates 
at the meeting hoped to present a picture of what had been done in 
the theater to solve the replacement problem and they hoped that the 
plans adopted at the conference would take care ;f the situation 
beyond the emergency which at that time had been brought upon them 
by the German drive into Belgium. The emergency action consisted 
of accelerating delivery through curtailing furloughs and training 
which would help meet immediate needs but might cause future trou- 
ble in that these measures would reduce future deliveries and result 
in men of a lower quality being sent to the theaters. 

Maj. Gen. R. W. Barker, Gl of the ETO, estimated the 31 December 
shortages in the ETO at 24,000 infantry riflemen and said that di- 

« Memo, Gl to Gen Bull, 2 Dec 44, sub : Replacements. Gl 322 Replacements. DRB, 

ra Memo, WDGS, 28 Dec 44, sub : ETO Replacement Conference. Gl 322 Repl. DRB, 



visions would be fighting at 78 percent of their authorized combat rifle 
strength. At the first meeting, on 23 December, there was a general 
discussion of the replacement situation. A committee was appointed 
which prepared conclusions and recommendations which were sub- 
mitted and discussed at the second meeting on 28 December. 

The calls on Selective Service had been increased from 60,000 to 
80,000 per month, but it appeared that this number would not fill the 
needs of all the theaters. Since the only men left in the 18-26 age 
group were the 40,000 who became 18 years of age each month, it 
appeared that more of the men called would be from the older group of 
whom fewer would be physically fit for combat. There were few 
infantry riflemen remaining in units in the United States and there 
was little recoverable overstrength left in the continental commands. 

In Europe, each of the army group Gl's prepared battle casualty 
estimates which were consolidated at ETOUSA headquarters by Staff 
officers and representatives of the replacement command. Theater 
headquarters, in conjunction with replacement command officers, pre- 
pared estimates of nonbattle casualties. The sum of these two esti- 
mates was reduced in theater headquarters by the estimated number 
to become available from theater sources, including those released from 
hospitals, and the difference constituted the estimate of the number 
of replacements needed each month submitted by the theater to the 
War Department. Although there had been differences between 
theater estimates and later requisitions for the same periods, those 
attending the conference decided that the European Theater had been 
using sound methods in preparing the estimates. 

The theater proposed that the War Department make an estimated 
advance allocation of the replacements which it expected would be- 
come available in the Zone of the Interior for overseas shipment. 
The War Department agreed to make such an estimate. 

Theater retraining was regarded as the main source of replacements 
within the theaters, but progress had not been as great as the War 
Department believed possible. The European theater representatives 
said their facilities were being used to capacity, that there was a lack 
of instructors, training aids, and camps. The conference decided to 
expand the retraining program, and the War Department sent 33 
officers, 52 enlisted men and 4 enlisted WAC's to the European theater 
from the Infantry School to establish an officer's training school in 
England. Another group consisting of 50 officers and 100 enlisted men 
was sent to assist in retraining men from other arms for infantry. 

Difficulties in connection with accounting were resolved and changes 
were made in the contents of the weekly radio reports of strength 
from the theaters. Theater representatives believed that the author- 
ized replacement pool of 80,050 for the European theater, which in- 



eluded Air Force replacement, theater overstrength and noneffectives, 
was inadequate, but it could not be increased without exceeding the 
authorized strength of the Army. 

At the close of the conference, it appeared there was a common 
understanding and general agreement on practically all phases of the 
replacement program. ETOUSA directed the air force in Europe to 
furnish 10,000 enlisted men for retraining and called upon the com- 
munications zone to provide an additional 20,000. 80 Army groups were 
expected to assign a certain number of noncombat troops and addi- 
tional levies were to be made upon the communications zone and the 
air forces. The War Department was asked to send to Europe 25,000 
limited assignment men as replacements for men who were being re- 
trained. Arrangements were made to return limited assignment 
officers to the United States where they replaced general assignment 
officers who were sent to Europe. The objective was to have all units 
of the two army groups at T/O strength and to have as large a pool as 
possible in the rear of the two army groups by 1 April. By 9 May 
1945, 12th Army Group, which had reported 745,114 casualties, had 
received 700,285 replacements. 81 

Letters to General MacArthur and General Richardson, dispatched 
26 December 1944, stressed the importance of the replacement problem 
in the Southwest Pacific theater and in the United States Army 
Forces in the Pacific Ocean Areas. 82 Immediate and positive action 
within the theaters was held necessary to avoid a situation which 
would jeopardize operations. The letters pointed out that requisi- 
tions from the two theaters for December and January had exceeded 
previous estimates and that fewer men than were asked for had been 
shipped. General Marshall suggested that excellent results had been 
obtained during the conference with Gl officials from another theater 
(apparently a reference to the meeting with officers from the ETO) 
and that it would be desirable to have Gl representatives from the 
Pacific theaters come to Washington for similar conference. 

Col. Townsend Heard, Gl, Pacific Ocean Areas, and Maj. R. P. 
De Camara, of the Pacific Ocean Areas Replacement Command, 
arrived in Washington 28 January 1945 and spent a week in con- 
ference with representatives of the War Department agencies inter- 
ested in the replacement problem. 83 At this meeting an improved 
system of replacement accounting and reporting designed to give the 

80 Carrier Sheet, Hq, 12th Army Group, 18 Jan 45, sub: War Department Conference. 
Copy in "Report of Operations," II, Annex 30, pp. 137-138. 

81 12th Army Gp "Report of Operations," II, Annex 14, p. 93. 

81i Ltrs, Marshall to MacArthur and Richardson, 26 Dec 44. OCS 320.2 (26 Dec 44). 

83 Rpt of Temporary Duty, Maj R. P. de Camara, 23 Feb 45. Copy in USAFPOA and 
MIDPAC, "History of the Replaement Training Command," 11 Sep 44-1 Dec 45. 8-5.6 
AA, vol. 27. OCMH, General Reference Office. 



War Department more essential data on replacements was worked 
out between the theater representatives, the War Department General 
Staff, and the Strength and Reporting Office. The War Department 
recognized that there would be temporary replacement needs greater 
than estimated. In view of the overall replacement situation, the 
theater was prepared to undertake its commitments without increased 
replacement allocations. 

Each of the principal phases of the replacement system and its 
operation in the Pacific Ocean areas was analyzed. These included 
loss estimating, requisitioning, accounting and reporting, theater pipe- 
lines, displacement of able-bodied men in rear areas and service and 
garrison units, adequacy of the War Department "replacement 
authorizations," and "replacement allocations." * The only difference 
of opinion between theater and War Department representatives 
which was not reconciled was the matter of retraining to produce 
a maximum number of combat replacements. This subject was covered 
in a letter prepared for General Richardson and delivered to him 
by Colonel Heard upon his return following the conference. 

The letter to General Richardson stated that the War Depart- 
ment estimate of the number of replacements which could be furnished 
had proven overly optimistic ; it appeared that the number of infantry- 
men who were to be sent during March, April, May, and June might 
have to be reduced. Colonel Heard had indicated that the retraining 
program would produce only between 300 and 400 men per month 
as loss replacements for combat units. The letter pointed out that : 
"The need for combat replacements is so critically urgent that all 
theater retraining programs should be given maximum acceleration. 
The War Department should be advised of the number of combat 
replacements you can produce by this means." 84 

On 23 February 1945, a new personnel reporting procedure and 
seven new reports were inaugurated. 85 Two other forms and reports 
were added in May. But the strength accounting system was still 
too complex. Machine prepared reports generally were not used by 
overseas commanders, who found them too slow and inaccurate. They 
preferred manually prepared reports. Machine records units in over- 
seas commands continued to report to the War Department but 
theater commanders frequently based their estimates on separate 
figures. In the United States, overseas shipments of replacements 
were based more on availability of personnel than on reports from 
overseas commanders regarding their requirements. 

w Ltrs, Marshall to MacArthur and Richardson, 26 Dec 44. OCS 320.2 (26 Dec 44). 

"Ltr, WDAGO, 23 Feb 45, sub: Uniform Strength Report. AG 320.2 AGOM-E-F. 
DRB, TAG ; WD Cir 147, 17 May 45. 

efforts to meet replacement shortages 


The Stilwell Replacement Plan 

In February 1945, Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, Commanding General, 
Army Ground Forces, in a letter to Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richardson, Jr., 
Commanding General, Pacific Ocean Areas, suggested a revised re- 
placement plan which the ground forces commander believed would 
remove some of the difficulties encountered in providing replacements 
for units in the Pacific. 86 

The Stilwell plan proposed that infantry replacement training 
centers within the United States designate units within the centers to 
train replacements for particular divisions then in service overseas. 
It was believed that these training units would be able to inspire the 
recruits with a considerable amount of pride in their organizations, 
lt further proposed tha tmen destined for any one division be trained 

together a nd inoyp. nvp.rsp.n.g tngprhpf fl.ftp.r thpy left thft rftp1a.fiftTnp.nt, 
tra/imncr r» / 

It was recognized that such a training plan might not take care of 
all the needs of divisions in combat in case they suffered unusually 
large losses; but it was believed that a system of conversion train- 
ing could be continued within the United States as well as in the 
theaters as a means of producing the additional men who would be 
needed to take care of excessive losses during periods of heavy fighting. 

The advantages and disadvantages of the proposed Stilwell re- 
placement system were reviewed by the Plans Section of the Replace- 
ment Training Command, Pacific Ocean Areas. The principal 
difficulty which officers making the study believed would prevent the 
effective operation of the plan was the rigidity inherent in any method 
of allocation of replacements to specific divisions during the early 
part of their training period. Combat losses of divisions were certain 
to be unequal. There was no known method whereby men, upon 
their arrival at a replacement training center, could be divided among 
divisions in combat in proportion to the losses those divisions would 
suffer at some indefinite time 6 to 12 months in the future. It soon 
became apparent that the plan could only be carried out by the re- 
tention of an excessive number of casuals in the replacement installa- 
tions. For that reason, the proposal did not advance beyond the 
planning stage. 

The Plans Section officers who studied the problem believed that 
it would be more satisfactory to attach one replacement depot in sup- 
port of each field army and to continue the method of training then 
being carried out within the United States. 87 It was suggested that 

» u USAFPOA and MIDPAC, "History of the Replacement Training Command," 11 Sep 
44-1 Dec 45. 8-5.6 AA, vol. 27, pp. 723-751. OCMH, General Reference Office. 

87 Ltr, RTC POA, 18 Jul 45, sub : Support of a Field Army by Elements of a Theater 
Replacement System. AG 320.2. DRB, TAG. 



the depot supporting a field army be composed of as many replace- 
ment battalions as there were corps in the Army, plus one battalion 
which would have the function of caring for "return to unit" person- 
nel and such other persons passing through the replacement system 
who might be suffering from combat fatigue or other disabilities. 
The plan also provided that if necessary another battalion could be 
added to serve army overhead installations needing replacements. 

This plan was prepared by the POA Replacement Training Com- 
mand, after careful analysis of Pacific operations in which particu- 
lar attention was given to the Okinawa campaign. The Plans 
Section also had available a number of detailed reports regarding the 
faults and virtues brought to the attention of officers who had observed 
the operation of the replacement systems in the Mediterranean and 
European Theaters of Operations. 

The experience of the Plans Section indicated that a uniform re- 
placement system under one command was desirable in any theater 
of operations. Two major problems which were found to require 
continuous study were (1) the number of replacements required to 
support any operation; and (2) the number and type of replacement 
units which would be necessary to provide efficient administration. 

In the Pacific, it was important to establish replacement centers 
upon important island objectives at an early date in any operation. 
After their establishment, these units could best be developed by fol- 
lowing a prearranged plan of operations which specified all unit re- 
quirements. It was essential that elements of any theater replace- 
ment system give direct support to an army in the field. 

The surrender of J apan came before any of these suggestions were 
incorporated into the Pacific Ocean areas replacement system. For 
that reason they were not subjected to practical tests. 

The Learned-Smith and Other Replacement Studies 

Military operations during 1944-45 had brought to light new evi- 
dence of the lack of a master personnel plan within the War Depart- 
ment. The Air Forces headquarters was believed to have exercised 
more control over its replacement system than had the other com- 
mands and had had some success in its efforts to avert shortages and 
overages m units. 

Tentative plans for the invasion of Japan indicated there would 
be several replacement commands in the Pacific, a condition which 
officers in the War Department General Staff feared would cause con- 
fusion at a time when the replacement supply was too limited to con- 
done any system which wasted manpower. The Army was con- 
fronted with the necessity for reducing its troop basis and at the same 



time conducting a campaign against the Japanese. The shipping 
shortage in both the Atlantic and Pacific was serious. The War De- 
partment needed complete and accurate data, but reports from over- 
seas frequently were incomplete, contradictory, and otherwise con- 

An examination of the Air Forces replacement system convinced 
some War Department officials that experts on personnel planning 
who had helped put the Air Forces plan into operation might be em- 
ployed to draft a plan for the ground forces. On 9 June 1945, the 
Chief of Staff selected Drs. E. P. Learned and Dan T. Smith to make 
a study of the War Department personnel replacement system and 
to make general recommendations in an effort to gain more efficiency 
in the war against Japan. The Army Air Forces loaned Drs. 
Learned and Smith to the office of the Chief of Staff to make this 
study, and they submitted a report to the Deputy Chief of Staff on 
20 June 1945. 88 While they proposed that the replacement system 
then in operation generally be continued, they recommended a num- 
ber of changes. 

Their principal recommendations were : 

1. That the Personnel and Administration Division (P&A), 
WDGS, be the only War Department General Staff agency charged 
with the planning and operation of personnel matters. 

2. That the Operations Division, WDGS, retain responsibility for 
troop basis and OPD operational plans, but that P&A have final re- 
sponsibility for rate tables in coordination with interested agencies 
in major commands and in the theaters. It was also suggested that 
P&A revise Army Regulations and WDGS circulars, specifically 
Circular 11-3. 

3. That P&A maintain a master plan on personnel and, after coor- 
dination with G3 and other interested staff agencies, control the al- 
location of personnel among major commands and to the theaters. 

4. That P&A indicate availability of manpower and make recom- 
mendations to other staff agencies. 


5. That a suggestion be sent to General MacArthur that his re- 
placement commander should be at least a lieutenant general. 

6. That P&A should study the actions of the War Department 
Manpower Board to see if long-range personnel planning was being 
unduly limited. 

7. That the Navy should discontinue recruiting 17-year-olds. The 
report likewise proposed that all planning agencies be contacted in 
an effort to prevent overcommitments, but that detailed planning be 
decentralized to major commands. It was suggested that P&A and 

""Memo to DCofS, 7 Jul 45, sub: Review of War Department I'ersoimel Replacement 
System. OCS 200.3 (7 Jul 45). DUB, TAG. 



each major command should establish offices to be known as "Per- 
sonnel Requirements and Resources Branches" and that these branches 
should be charged with the various personnel functions involved in 
analysis, projection, and control. The authors believed that major 
commands and theaters should be brought more intimately into per- 
sonnel planning, bjit that P&A should maintain close liaison with 
its counterparts in the theaters. 

The report suggested that maximum requirements should be re- 
quested from Selective Service but that in the event there should be 
overstrengths, because losses were less than estimated, enough men 
should be discharged to keep within troop base limits. It was further 
recommended that "combat replacements should be locked up in a 
tight pipeline." Another suggestion was that personnel divisions 
should have equal priority with other staff agencies in assignment of 
officers so that personnel work would be in capable hands. 

The Learned- Smith study was approved by the Deputy Chief of 
Staff on 7 July 1945 and it was forwarded to P&A with suggestions 
that it be implemented so far as practicable. Comments from the other 
agencies were attached in a brief. 89 

As a result of this study, P&A Division of the War Department 
General Staff set up a Personnel Control Group in that office and as- 
sumed responsibility for certain personnel functions previously per- 
formed by OPD and the training divisions. Included within the Con- 
trol Group were the Statistics Branch, Allocations Branch, and 
Requirements and Resources Branch. But by September, the expe- 
rience of the P&A Division in the operation of the Control Group 
indicated the need for a major change in its size and composition and 
in the scope of its activities, if it were to produce the results which 
had been envisioned by the Assistant Chief of Staff. In view of this 
problem, efforts were made to find a solution. 

New regulations in light of the Learned- Smith study and the revi- 
sion of Circular No. 11-3 were under consideration when hostilities 
ceased in August. P&A then recommended that the Learned- Smith 
study be utilized by the interested agencies only where applicable to 
current and future personnel problems. P&A also recommended that 
Circular No. 11-3 be rescinded and that replacement matters be con- 
sidered as covered by regulations and other WDGS circulars. 

On 16 October 1945, the Deputy Chief of Staff stated that it was 
his understanding that the Learned-Smith study was for the purpose 
of developing a replacement system which would be effective at any 
time. He said that the study should produce, if nothing else, the most 
efficient personnel organization that could be developed and that the 

» Memo, DCofS for ACofS, G-l, WDGS, 7 Jul 45, sub : Review of War Department 
Personnel Replacement System. OCS 200.3 (7 Jul 45). DRB, TAG. 



recommended personnel control agencies should be set up in such form 
and size a& required by current problems. However, many of the 
changes proposed by the Learned- Smith report tended to lapse into 
obscurity after the Japanese surrender, although the Manpower Con- 
trol Group continued to function in the P&A Division of the War 
Department General Staff. 

In August 1945, a board headed by Lt. Gen. A. M. Patch was ap- 
pointed and assigned the mission of proposing an appropriate post- 
war military organization. 90 This board on 18 October 1945 submitted 
a report which approved most of the wartime changes including elimi- 
nation of the chiefs of infantry, field artillery, cavalry, and coast 
artillery. A headquarters, Army Ground Forces, was favored with 
the provision that it should be eliminated in the event of unification 
of the armed forces. The report recommended that the director 
of Personnel and Administration have overall War Department re- 
sponsibility for the procurement of personnel and its allocation in 
bulk to the major commands and for the demobilization of individuals 
from the military service. 

Headquarters, Army Ground Forces, on 13 November 1945 recom- 
mended that a board of officers, composed of representatives of the 
War Department General Staff and the major forces, be convened 
by the War Department to study the personnel system in conjunction 
with the Patch Board Report and the Learned- Smith study. AGF 
believed it should assume responsibility for the personnel in all ground 
force troop-basis type units to include all arms and services. In view 
of the Patch Board report and the possible consolidation of the Armed 
Forces, it was not considered practical to establish at that time a 
worldwide reporting system. 

On 15 April 1947, a board of officers with CoL George S. Price as 
chairman and Cols. George R. Evans, Ralph Rhudy, and Charles G. 
Dunn and Lt. Col. John Wilson as members was appointed to study the 
replacement problems. 91 This board was directed to make recommen- 
dations for a worldwide replacement system so that a War Depart- 
ment directive could be published. Peacetime procedures were to be 
considered but principal stress was to be placed on possible needs in 
event of a future mobilization. Its conclusions and recommendations 
were to be based on a detailed examination and evaluation of World 
War II experiences and problems. The board submitted its report 
of six volumes on 12 December 1947. One volume was devoted to the 
replacement system in the Zone of the Interior, another to the over- 

90 Report of Board of Officers on Reorganization of the War Department, WDGS, 18 Oct 
45. AG 334 (Patch Board) (19 Oct 45). DRB, TAG. 

M Memo DCofS to members of board, 15 Oct 47, sub : Board of Officers to Study Replace- 
ment System, w/amendments, 19 Nov 47. G-l 322 (Repl). DRB, TAG. 



seas replacement system, one to matters affecting the replacement sys- 
tem, and the annexes made up two volumes. Conclusions and recom- 
mendations were submitted in the first volume. 

The board concluded that an effective replacement system had been 
lacking in World War II and that the Department of the Army should 
survey the Nation's human resources in an effort to develop a replace- 
ment system which, in the event of another mobilization, would pro- 
vide men for units and installations in their order of priority. It 
believed this could be accomplished through a personnel command in 
the Zone of Interior responsible solely to the Chief of Staff. 

The board recommended that the office of the director of Personnel 
and Administration be the sole General Staff agency responsible for 
determining personnel requirements, for the allocation of personnel, 
for determination of training rates, and for the operation of the per- 
sonnel accounting system. It proposed that technical and field man- 
uals be prepared. It suggested studies on personnel accounting 
systems, rotation of units, temporary promotions, branch immaterial 
status, and the integration of civilian components. The report sug- 
gested that by 1 July 1948 there be established in the Zone of the 
Interior a personnel command which could be expanded into an Army 
personnel replacement and training system, worldwide. 

Army Ground Forces emphasized its belief that balance between 
Air, Army, and Navy, in regard to personnel, must be established at 
the outset of a war. 92 That headquarters proposed a nationwide sur- 
vey to determine accurately what percentages of the various physical 
categories that existed in the United States were usable to the Services. 
It was proposed that such a survey become the basis of a classifica- 
tion and registration system which would aid Selective Service in the 
event of mobilization. In the operation of Eeserve units during peace- 
time, Army Ground Forces favored common inducements for all 
services and a fixed ceiling on the size of the reserves of the various 
components. It was proposed that during a mobilization all services 
should commission civilians on a quota basis in an effort to prevent 
any unseemly scramble for talent. The Army Ground Forces wanted 
a plan under which in time of war the agency that handled training 
and supplying of replacements would have the status of a separate 
command answerable directly to the highest commander— the theater 
commander abroad or the Chief of Staff of the Department of the 
Army in the Zone of the Interior. Since replacement training centers 
in World War II failed to produce sufficient filler and loss replace- 
ments, the board said it appeared wise for these centers to produce loss 

L>tv, Hq AGF, 12 Nov 47, sub : Army Ground Forces Views on the Problems of Training 
and Supplying Replacements in Time of War. AGF 334 (Bds) (12 Nov 47). DRB, TAG. 



replacements only and to send fillers direct from reception centers to 
units. The concept that every man in every unit was a specialist to 
be replaced only with a man trained for that particular MOS was 
held unsound. It was feared that such a plan would result in exces- 
sive stockage and overspecialization. Army Ground Forces favored 
an extension of the packet system of moving casuals so that the re- 
placement would be attached to a unit from the time he left the re- 
placement training center until he arrived in the theater of operations. 

The report of the Replacement Board was a monumental work 
which brought together a detailed account of the replacement prob- 
lems of World War II. It offered an accurate analysis of personnel 
procurement and replacement methods. Unlike the Learned-Smith 
Report, the report of the Replacement Board did not receive any 
formal approval by the Department of the Army. Although in many 
respects the Replacement Board report was identical with recom- 
mendations made to it by Army Ground Forces, there w T ere basic dif- 
ferences. Army Ground Forces believed that more than a defensive 
attitude would be necessary to gain parity with the Air and Service 
Forces in the division of manpower. It proposed an aggressive at- 
titude in an effort to gain complete parity in quality with the other 
services. 93 Army Ground Force officers believed that the Army's share 
of the manpower pool in regard to age, physical fitness, mental capac- 
ity, leadership potential, and degree of skill should be identical with 
that allotted to the Air Forces and the Navy. It was easy to demand 
equal cross-sections, but difficult to establish the yardstick with which 
to measure the cross-sections. It was believed that this yardstick 
might come out of the nationwide manpower survey proposed by the 
board, a survey which was expected to disclose by percentages the 
number of men who would fall within various military categories. 

Army Ground Forces also pointed out that each Service must take 
its proportionate share of men in the lower-physical and higher-age 
brackets. The problem was first to determine a set of categories, and 
second to determine the percentage of the available military man- 
powder that was available in each category. Based on such knowledge, 
it was believed that a concurrent interservice or joint study could 
determine the cross-section of manpower by category and percentage 
that would be common for all services. Army Ground Forces also be- 
lieved that the Secretary of Defense should assume responsibility for 
the allocation of manpower and that the Department of the Army 
should present its needs to him. There was fear that more alluring 
conditions offered reservists by the Navy might give that service a 

93 Memo, AGF to AFF, 10 Mar 48, sub : Comments of Army Ground Forces on the Report 
of Replacement Board, Department of the Army, 1947. OCS 322 (11 Apr 47). DRB. TAG. 

346225 O - 55 - 21 



better cross-section in the event of a mobilization. Army Ground 
Forces proposed that surplus specialists be carried as overstrength in 
units as a means of maintaining their morale and skill and that they 
be held there until needed as loss replacements in combat units. 

Army Ground Forces also pointed to the need for studies of the 
replacement problem which would develop in case of a "joint" over- 
seas command involving all of the services. It was expected that 
unification might bring about consolidation of such facilities as 
transportation and housing of replacements. 

The report of the Replacement Board was made available to the 
Command and General Staff College for study and Army educational 
institutions were requested to include studies of replacement problems 
in their schedules. The problem of centralized control of manpower 
was referred to the Secretary of Defense. The reforms recommended 
by the Replacement Board centered around a training command 
within the Zone of the Interior and a replacement and training system 
for overseas theaters. 94 

The report of the Replacement Board was studied in detail in the 
Personnel and Administration Division (Gl) of the War Depart- 
ment General Staff which summarized its conclusions in a memo- 
randum dated 12 January 1948. In its discussion of the problem, 
this memorandum said : 

From a study of World War II it appears incontestable that there must 
he centralized control of military personnel and that the Director of Personnel 
and Administration [ACofS, G-l] is the logical man for the job. . . . 

The Director of Personnel and Administration must be represented in all 
aspects of strategic planning in order that he may keep abreast of the possi- 
bilities as to where, when, and how the next war will be fought. 

His planning must reflect the degree to which casualty statistics gathered 
in World War II will apply to the next war. It must also reflect the rate 
of mobilization required to carry out the Army's part in whatever type of 
operations are envisaged. 

Once an allocation of personnel has been made between industry and the 
services by the National Resources Board, the Director of Personnel and 
Administration must be prepared to defend the Army's case to the Munitions 
Board or JCS for the Army's share of personnel both as to quantity and 
quality (mental and physical) . 

Maximum practicable use of women must be planned. 

Directives outlining operation of personnel control must be prepared. 
These directives must define responsibility of theater Gl's and provide for 
establishment of replacement commands within theaters. 

Replacement for battle and nonbattle losses must be figured in with 
mobilization requirements. 

A sound plan of rotation must be integrated into overall planning. 

Wartime recruiting must be eliminated for all services after selective service 
becomes operative. 

94 Memo, Gl to Col Fry, Gl, WDGS, 15 Jun 48, sub : Report of Replacement Board. OCS 
322 Repl (11 Apr 47). DRB, TAG. 



Appointment of officers from civilian life for all services must be on an 
equitable basis, and should be restricted to those individuals possessing 
unusual skills or qualifications required by the services. 95 

Although the report of the Replacement Board was never officially 
adopted, it provided a valuable source of reference and exerted con- 
siderable influence on replacement plans. 

* & Memo, P&A Div, for Gen Trudeau, 12 Jan 48, sub : Comments on Replacement System 
Worldwide World War II. OCS 322 (11 Apr 47). DRB, TAG. 


The Wide Range of Military Requirements 

The replacement system did more than move men from civilian jobs 
to military units. It attempted to determine capabilities, assign com- 
petent instructors capable of developing talents possessed by trainees, 
and to deliver the men at the time they were needed by military units. 
The function of the replacement system was to meet the needs of the 
Army. In fulfilling that function it was necessary to gear the replace- 
ment output to the operations of all units making up the military team. 
There were many factors which brought variations in replacement 
requirements. The furnishing of cadres for new units added to the 
number of replacements needed and created a demand for the more 
capable men. Since trained men give their best efforts when their 
morale is high, it was essential that the enthusiasm of the replace- 
ments should not wane before they joined their organizations. The 
length of time men could remain in battle before suffering combat ex- 
haustion was another factor used in determining the number of re- 
placements required at the front. Other matters to be considered in 
the replacement problem included the time required to return to duty 
men released from hospitals, the utilization of men with limited physi- 
cal capacities, and the employment of women. 


The Adjutant General's office in the spring of 1940 established in 
the War Plans Section, Executive Division, a small personnel research 
section that prepared the early plans for the World War II classifica- 
tion system, designed to place men in the positions they were most 
capable of filling. 1 The section kept in touch with operations in the 
field, carried on research and experimental studies, prepared report 
forms, rating procedures, examinations, and other material. The 
continuous study of the classification problem was directed by the 
Research Council and by the Advisory Committee, which was ap- 
pointed in 1940 at the request of The Adjutant General. 

1 Walter V. Bingham, "Army Personnel Classification System in Organizing for Total 
War," The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, CCXX (March 
1942) pp. 18-28. 




The first form of the Army General Classification test (AGCT) 
was prepared during the summer of 1940 and was in use in the field 
by September, when the Selective Service act was passed. 2 Publica- 
tions and regulations pertaining to classification included a dictionary 
of occupational titles, containing over 15,000 job descriptions, and 
three technical manuals (TM's 12-425, -426, -427). The latter re- 
placed the Army Regulations (AE's 615-25, -26, -28) which pre- 
viously had described Army jobs and listed their civilian counterparts. 
All enlisted men in the Regular Army had been classified by January 
1941 and all of the National Guardsmen in Federal service were inter- 
viewed before the end of the year. 

Hundreds of officers who attended the Adjutant General's School 
received instruction in the purposes and procedures of classification. 
The Personnel Research Section, which in 1942 had a staff of 10 offi- 
cers, 24 civilian professional workers, and 50 clerical, statistical, and 
administrative employees, by 1944 had grown to 21 officers, 45 civilian 
professional members, and about 50 part-time consultants, together 
with about 50 clerical workers. 

Psychological examinations for draftees regarded as below normal 
in intelligence were adopted 1 August 1942. 3 Restrictions on the 
number of illiterates accepted were not removed until 1 June 1943. 
After extensive experimentation, the Advisory Board on Mechanical 
and Technical Personnel concluded that mechanical ability could be 
predicted more accurately by tests worked out on paper than by the 
so-called "practical" manipulative tests. Records of military units 
were checked in a u follow-up'' intended to reveal the accuracy of the 
results obtained by the examinations given to newly inducted men. 
Tests were devised in an effort to determine the extent to which men 
could see at night or under conditions of partial darkness. 

Classification was a continuing process, which frequently was neces- 
sary, and could take place at any time. The man or woman who 
acquired a new military skill might be reclassified, receive a new 
specification serial number, and then be reassigned to a different 
position which would make use of the newly acquired qualifications. 
The man or woman who was unable to perform an assigned task might 
be reclassified and given a less responsible position or released. It 
also was necessary to determine whether the individual had the physi- 
cal capacity necessary for the performance of the job to which he was 
being assigned. The Army individual test (AIT-1) was used when 
group tests appeared inadequate. 4 

2 WD Pamph 12-8, "The Evaluation, Classification and Assignment of Military Personnel 
in the United States Army," 28 Jul 44. 

3 Walter V. Bingham, "Personnel Classification Testing in the Army," Science (29 Sep 
44), p. 277. 

* WD Cir 421, 26 Oct 44. 



Officer candidates were given tests of about 45 minutes duration be- 
fore they appeared before selection boards. It was relatively simple 
to measure ability to learn what was taught at the officer candidate 
school, but to measure ability to lead men 3 was much more difficult. 

The handling of millions of records with a minimum of personnel 
officers and clerks was made possible by use of machine records equip- 
ment, but errors persisted. For example, men who were listed as 
cooks arrived overseas at a time when there was a shortage of tank 
drivers. Instead of being assigned to the kitchen, these men were 
sent into battle as tank drivers and many were killed. The reports 
showed the losses as cooks and resulted in demands on the training 
centers for more men to be trained as cooks, not for more men to be 
trained as tank drivers. 5 Such inaccuracies were caused by regula- 
tions requiring 60 days on a job before the military occupational spe- 
cialty number (MOS) was changed. The problem was solved by re- 
porting the duty MOS rather than the primary MOS. 

The United States Army at the beginning of World War II recog- 
nized two categories of physical capacity — general service and limited 
service. Officers found the term "limited service" undesirable as a 
description of handicapped men because it lowered the incentives of 
those to whom it was applied. Commanders who received men listed 
as "limited service" were less likely to attempt to find work the men 
could do. 

Army Ground Forces in December 1943 asked for a more equitable 
distribution of ability, but the Control Division of Army Service 
Forces replied that the combat arms unavoidably must receive a less 
efficient group of men. 6 The Army Ground Forces proposed the 
physical classification of men into three categories at reception cen- 
ters and their subsequent assignment to units in proportion to prede- 
termined ratios. This proposal would have shelved both the AGCT 
distribution criteria and the occupational skill requirements which 
had been established. The commanding General of the Army Service 
Forces recommended a similar system. 

The Surgeon General and those officers in The Adjutant General's 
Office who had been working with reception center procedure believed 
this proposed simple three-step classification did not go far enough 
They recommended a five-step classification, each step to have six 
divisions covering general physical stamina, lower extremities, upper 
extremities, hearing, vision, and psychological characteristics. 

When reports indicated there was a large accumulation of unusable 
personnel, the usual practice was for Gl, WDGS, to modify slightly 
its discharge directives so as to permit a reduction in this unusable 

5 Statement, Maj. Gen. John S. Wood (Ret). HIS 330.14. OCMH. 

a Ltr, Hq ASF to AGF, 12 Jan 44, sub : Utilization of Manpower Based on Physical 
Capacity, AG 327.3/8. DRB, TAG. 



group. 7 It took approximately 2 months before such a change could 
be disseminated to the field, and then 2 more months before the effect 
of the change could be noted in personnel reports. If the result did 
not conform to what was desired, an additional change took another 
2 months. Usually, after opening the door a crack for discharges, 
the Army found out 4 months later that not only had a tremendous 
group been released, but that many of those who were coming from 
Selective Service were no better physically than those who had been 
discharged. Too often field commanders ignored the requirements 
for release and used the discharge procedure to rid their units of those 
persons whom they did not want. 

The withdrawal of the "limited service" concept in July 1948 (ex- 
cept for certain restricted purposes) 8 left a large number of the 
physically limited in replacement training centers with no provision 
for their assignment. As a result, the discharge rate grew alarm- 
ingly. In an effort to stop this loss, new physical categories were 
established late in 1943 and a definite assignment policy based on 
physical capacity w T as announced. The War Department said that 
overhead and Zone of Interior activities could use those who were 
physically limited, but combat units were to have priority on physi- 
cally able men. 

In January 1944, the War Department directed that physically 
qualified enlisted men in overhead installations should be replaced by 
physically limited men, but it was a directive that met with much de- 
lay in its execution. In the Keplacement and School Command it was 
pointed out that the number of cadremen who could be released for 
overseas service w T as small in comparison with the regular flow of 
trainees; many officers in the centers believed efficient training out- 
weighed the value of adding a trickle of cadremen to the overseas flow. 

The physical profile system was initiated 24 February 1944, and 
the War Department directed that reception centers conduct experi- 
ments for a month to perfect procedures and accumulate experience 
data. 9 All replacement training centers of the Army Ground Forces 
and training centers of the Army Service Forces conducted "branch 
immaterial" training during the first 6 weeks after they received men 
who had been inducted. The permanent establishment of the physi- 
cal profile system was directed on 2 May 1944 and men were assigned 
to the three major commands within established quotas based on mini- 
mum profiles. 10 Army Ground Force officers were placed on duty at 
reception centers to assist in making assignments. Enlisted men 

7 Statement, Brig. Gen. Robert W. Berry. HIS 330.14. OCMH. 

8 WD Cir 161, 14 Jul 43, sec 3. 

9 Memo, ACofS G-l, 24 Feb 44, sub : Physical Profile Serial, Gl 201.5. DRB, TAG. 

10 Memo, ACofS G-l, 2 May 44, sub: Physical Profile Plan. OCS 201.5 (25 Apr 44). 
DRB, TAG ; WD Cir 293, 11 Nov 43 ; WD Cir 164, 26 Apr 44 ; WD Cir 196, 30 Jun 45. 



could be upgraded or downgraded upon recommendation of unit com- 
manders or by action of a medical and a line officer. Profile serial num- 
bers were entered on soldiers' qualification cards. The commanding 
generals of the Ground, Air, and Service Forces determined the per- 
centages in each profile serial bracket required for each arm and 

Up to June 1944, assignment to training centers of the major com- 
mands had been based upon the potential use of the new soldier's civil- 
ian experience, training, and education so that the Army Air Forces 
received those with aviation backgrounds, men with communications 
backgrounds went to the Signal Corps, and others were assigned to 
units which it was expected could make best use of their qualifications. 11 

The change to the physical profile system came about because of 
greater emphasis placed on physical qualifications after the heavy 
losses the armies had received in combat. The necessity for keeping 
soldiers in the field for long periods also disclosed that living under 
field conditions required men with high physical qualifications. Un- 
der the physical profile system, men were grouped into four grades of 
physical fitness and percentage figures for each grade were estab- 
lished for each major command but were varied from time to time 
as the situation changed. Men were graded from 1 to 4 according to 
their functional ability under the headings of general physique, arms, 
legs, hearing, sight, and emotional stability. No. 1 indicated above 
average ability; No. 2 average; No. 3 below average; and No. 4 unac- 
ceptable. More specific information could be shown by adding code 

This classification system was based on a system previously rejected 
in Canada. 12 One of the difficulties was that even doctors, independ- 
ently, would not give the same man the same physical profile. The 
differences sometimes were enough to change a man from a Grade I to a 
Grade IV rating. Men who rated Grade I in one assignment some- 
times would exhibit psychoneurotic tendencies and drop to Grade IV 
when they were shifted to another assignment, as happened to many 
thousands withdrawn from the Service Forces to be retained as 

The physical profile ratios were designed to give a higher percent- 
age of physically able men to the Ground Forces. The Service Forces 
complained that many of the trainees deemed unsuitable for infantry 
training were not satisfactory for other branches. If they could not 
be profitably used in the other branches, they were discharged. 

There were two ways to approach the problem of making the 
most effective use of those men who were below normal in intelligence 

11 Report of the Replacement Board, bk. VI, aim. 50, p. 2. 

13 Statement, Brig Gen Robert W. Berry. HIS 330.14. OCMH. 



or in physical capabilities. One way was to train the man ; the other 
way was to simplify the job. Military units had many jobs which did 
not require either great mental or physical ability and which could be 
adapted to persons of limited capabilities provided combat command- 
ers were convinced of the need for conserving manpower. Many were 
not convinced, but believed they could get perfect physical specimens 
for every place in their units. 

During the early part of mobilization, it was necessary to take a 
large percentage of the more capable men for technical and adminis- 
trative assignments in new units then being formed. Extensive pub- 
licity given to the technical requirements of the Army resulted in a 
considerable portion of the public gaining the impression that men 
entering the service would receive assignments closely related to their 
occupational and educational experience. This often was impossible 
because the Army needed only a few lawyers, clerks, administrators, 
or accountants in comparison with a large number of riflemen, ma- 
chine gunners, and other combat troops. 

Military jobs closely related to civilian work were designated by 
numbers below 500 and all of the services had higher requirements for 
those specialists whose numbers were under 500 than did any of the 
arms. In the Transportation Corps, 788 out of each 1,000 filled jobs 
with civilian counterparts ; 13 in the Corps of Engineers this figure was 
725; in the Ordnance Department, 641;. in the Signal Corps, 579 ; and 
in the Quartermaster, Medical, and Chemical Corps it was about 400. 
The Infantry required only 164 men per 1,000 for assignment to mili- 
tary duties related in any way to the civilian occupational field ; the 
other arms had only slightly more. 

When it became apparent that many men could not be placed in 
positions similar to those they had held in civilian life, the earlier 
publicity backfired and the press complained that the Army was not 
making proper use of the talent it had received. At the same time, 
friends and relatives of servicemen wrote to officials in the' War De- 
partment and to congressmen making a great deal of explanation 

The arms suffered because so many of their men had no established 
occupation in civilian life. Except where this lack of occupational 
experience was due to extreme youth it indicated a lack of ability 
which was reflected by slow progress in the training camps and prob- 
ably resulted in high rates of "combat exhaustion-' and in the early 
mental and physical breakup of men who entered combat. 

Theater commanders generally submitted requisitions calling for 
men whose MOS numbers corresponded to the vacancies within the 

13 AR 615-26 ; TM 12-426, 1 Jul 44. 



theaters. 14 These requisitions sometimes called for more occupational 
specialists than were needed because commanders hoped to get higher 
type personnel. Division commanders pointed out that vacancies 
which occurred in combat must be filled promptly and the only way to 
do that was to take the best qualified person available within the divi- 
sion, leaving a less essential job unfilled. 15 

It was* not always possible to send men who had the qualifications 
requested. The graduation dates of the training centers frequently 
came at times when no ships were available. When ships were ready 
to sail they could not wait until men with the desired qualifications 
reached the ports, so transports sometimes departed with ASF-trained 
men when AGF-trained men were wanted. There was a pressing 
need for men in most overseas port areas and incoming replacements 
usually were put to work immediately upon arrival, a practice which 
sometimes interfered with their early assignment to permanent units. 
Specialist training was curtailed during the latter half of 1944, 16 and 
by the beginning of 1945 the problem of placing men in the positions 
for which they had been trained still had not been satisfactorily 

The War Department, in an effort to improve the methods of assign- 
ing specialists, issued a circular 17 which described in detail a program 
of broad general arm or service training for the production of the 
needed military occupational specialists. Previous training methods 
had tended to produce specialists Who could be used in only one job, 
but the new circular was intended to produce individuals capable of 
developing in a number of directions. It was expected that broadly 
trained individuals would enter units and later earn promotions 
through the additional training they would receive on the job. This 
procedure was difficult for units in combat because they frequently 
received men during periods of action w r hen there was little oppor- 
tunity for on-the-job training or even for the minimum amount of 
battle indoctrination. 

Many of those who were familiar with the situation did not believe 
that the new War Department regulations had solved the problem. 18 
All of the arms and services continued to train their own specialists. 
The Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, WDGS, determined the rate per 
thousand to be trained as specialists after which the Military Train- 
ing Division, ASF, apportioned the numbers of each group among 
ASF training centers; other specialists were trained in the schools. 
The monthly production of automobile mechanics, clerks, truck driv- 

14 WD Cir 149, 15 Apr 44. 

15 Statement, Maj. Gen. Fred L. Walker (Ret). HIS 330.14. OCMH. 

16 WD Cir 267, 30 Jun 44, IV. 

17 WD Cir 39, 1 Feb 45. 

18 Report of the Replacement Board, bk. II, p. 49. 



ers, armorers, buglers, electricians, linemen, radio mechanics, and 
many of the other specialists exceeded the attrition rates in the 
branches. At the same time there was a growing shortage of 
infantry riflemen and of men for other combat categories. 


Those officers in the Gl Branch of the War Department General 
Staff who, prior to World War II, worked on plans for a replace- 
ment system took into consideration that during 1917-18 some two- 
thirds of the Regular Army officers remained in the Zone of the 
Interior. 19 However necessary this situation may have been, it was 
considered most unfortunate inasmuch as it denied war experience 
to many of the Regulars and deprived them of the prestige appro- 
priate for dealing with the Reserve components after the close of 
the war. 

An effort had been made to correct this situation in the event of 
another war and the War Department had set up requirements for 
about one-third of the Regular Army officers to remain in the Zone 
of the Interior, while two-thirds would be assigned within the theater 
of operations. The plan proposed that Reserve officers with special- 
ized training were to be used as much as possible in the Communica- 
tions Zone, thus freeing Regular Army officers for service in the 
combat zone. 

During the early stages of an emergency, Reserve officers and 
Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) seniors were expected to 
provide filler replacements for the expansion of units from peace to 
war strength, and also to provide such officer replacements as might 
be required overseas. 20 The plan proposed that Reserve officers would 
be called to duty to provide the officer loss replacements who would 
be needed in the theater of operations during the first 30 days after 
mobilization. It was expected that officer candidate schools would 
be able to meet requirements for replacement officers after all of the 
Reserve officers had been assigned. 

Rotation between line and staff was considered important, as was 
the exchange of officers and men between well-trained and poorly 
trained units. Experienced war-trained personnel were considered 
especially valuable in the organization and in the training of new or 
inexperienced units. Instructors at the Army War College taught 

19 Lecture, Lt. Col. E. B. Colladay (for Bri£. Gen. Wm. E. Shedd, Jr.) "The Personnel 
Division of the War Department General Staff" before the Army War College, 17 Oct 39. 
Gl #2, 1939-40, p. 20. NWC Library. 

20 Lecture, Maj. J. M. Shelton, "Gl Features of Seventh Corps Area Mobilization Plan," 
at Corps Area Gl Conference, 4-16 May 36. G-l/14204 (5-23-36). DRB, TAG. 



that replacement of inefficient members sometimes would improve 
discipline in a poorly disciplined unit and at the same time would 
place men transferred out of a* poor unit in better surroundings 
where their habits might improve. The value of permitting men to 
remain with their units also was recognized as an aid to morale, a 
factor which tended to discourage numerous or ill-considered 
changes. 21 

The problem of limited service officers received early consideration 
in the pre-World War II planning for the replacement system. 
Mobilization plans provided that GHQ and theater headquarters were 
to arrange for proper use in the Communications Zone of war-experi- 
enced officers who had become limited service because of wounds or 
for other reasons. It was believed that if troops in the Zone of the 
Interior were to have the advantage of the experience gained at the 
front it might be necessary to send back more than those who no 
longer were useful in the theater. On the other side of the picture, 
instructors at the Army War College pointed out that it might be 
necessary to retain in the theater a considerable number for military 
police duty, for service as interpreters, for instructors, or for other 
services in the rear areas. 

When it appeared necessary to change the classification of an officer 
from general service to limited service the case came before a general 
hospital disposition board. The War Department designated posi- 
tions which limited service officers could fill. Military authorities 
considered that the use of all professionally trained officers to the 
limit of their physical capacity was necessary to meet increasing man- 
power demands. 22 

The 1941 maneuvers brought to light lack of energetic and efficient 
leadership on the part of a number of officers serving with Second and 
Third Armies. 23 As a result of these findings, the War Department 
contemplated the relief of some Regular and a large number of Na- 
tional Guard officers, either for overage in grade or for inefficiency. 
Also about half of the Reserve officers assigned to troop units of the 
field forces soon would complete their period of service and would 
be returned to civil life. Had these contemplated actions actually 
been carried out there would have been a serious officer replacement 
problem. New appointments would have come from officer candidate 
schools, recent graduates of ROTC units, and Reserve officers who 
prior to that time had not been called to extended active duty. 

No plans had been made to give these Reserve officers preliminary 
training before they were assigned to table of organization units. The 

21 Colladay, lecture, op. cit. 

22 WD Cir 82, 24 Mar 43 ; WD Cir 109, 7 Apr 45. 

28 Memo, WDGS, 9 Oct 41, sub: Leadership deficiencies, Replacements. G-l/21177-294. 



War Department General Staff was concerned over the prospect of re- 
lieving such a large group and replacing them with others who not 
only would be lacking in experience but also would be strangers to the 
men they would command. The situation eased somewhat after the 
replacement training centers opened, because Reserve officers newly 
ordered to active duty could be sent to the centers for refresher train- 
ing prior to their assignment to service or combat units. 

During the last 6 months of 1941, there were 196 Regular Army 
officers and 269 Xational Guard and Reserve officers removed from the 
active list by discharge or forced retirement. 24 The extensive replace- 
ment of officers which was contemplated early in 1941 never took place 
because the changes in the international situation made it inadvisable 
to release so large a number. The adoption of the Service Extension 
Act by Congress in August 1941 enabled the War Department to retain 
officers as long as they were needed, and by 1943 more officers had been 
commissioned than were required for immediate assignment. 25 During 
that year, the reduction of the troop basis and the inactivation of a 
number of units reduced the number of officers needed and at the same 
time increased the available supply. The pools filled rapidly. 26 

The Inspector General surveyed the officer situation in December 
1943 and reported there was an excess of approximately 51,000 officers 
above authorized strengths in the arms and services. 27 Army Service 
Forces officer replacement pools, which were authorized 9,600 officers, 
actually contained 16,413; Army Ground Forces officer replacement 
pools, authorized 18,500, contained 13,184. 

Xo specific allotment of officers had been made for the Army Air 
Forces officer replacement pool at Lowry Field, Colo., but most of the 
1,600 officers assigned there were in hospitals or were returning from 
overseas for recuperation. The Army Air Forces had 3,109 officers 
in excess of the authorized 171,109, but The Inspector General did not 
consider this small excess a problem. 

About half of the ASF officers had been in the pools 2 months or 
more ; nearly a third had been there over 3 months. Some were at- 
tached unassigned and performing duty at installations, a procedure 
which evaded strength ceilings. A large number were attending local 
schools or receiving training which The Inspector General regarded 
as makeshift in character and of value merely as a means of keeping 
people busy. It was apparent that officers who lacked qualifications 
and ability were collecting in the pools because they were not wanted 

2i Press Release, WDPRD, 11 Dec 41. 

25 WD Cir 167, 22 Jul 43. 

26 Officer Replacement Pools were listed in WD Cir 96, 8 Apr 43. It was amended by 
WD Cir 119, 11 May 43, IV ; WD Cir 171, 26 Jul 43 ; WD Cir 269, 27 Oct 43, IV ; WD Cir 
278, 3 Nov 43, III ; and WD Cir 55, 19 Feb 45. 

27 WD General Council Minutes, 27 Dec 43. 



in units, but almost all had efficiency reports of satisfactory or better. 
Many commanders preferred to reassign officers rather than separate 
them from the service, and those commanders who attempted to re- 
classify officers frequently found the procedure too cumbersome. 28 

Officers over 38 years of age for whom there were no suitable assign- 
ments available were encouraged to request relief from active duty. 
This change had only a minor effect on the Infantry since it received 
large numbers of the younger men from the officer candidate schools. 29 

The overstrength was most serious in the antiaircraft units, of 
which fewer were needed than had been expected. Divisions or other 
units that went overseas dropped their overstrength at the time of 
departure, the surplus officers being shifted to the pools. There had 
developed a tendency to keep inefficient officers on duty because it was 
easier to rotate them from the pools to units and back to the pools than 
it was to conduct reclassification proceedings. Division commanders 
finally were required to make permanent selections of officers early in 
the training periods in the belief that reclassification or release of un- 
satisfactory officers would be more likely if there was less discretion 
in the matter of transfers to pools upon departure for overseas. In 
another move intended to bring about the release of substandard offi- 
cers, reclassification jurisdiction was delegated to subordinate com- 

Disadvantages arising from the accumulation of officers in pools 
caused the War Department in March of 1943 to authorize 25 percent 
overstrength of officers in tactical units. Recently commissioned offi- 
cers thereafter received at least 3 months' experience with T/O units 
in the United States before they were ordered overseas, a need which 
had been demonstrated during the North African campaign. Units 
within the United States, rather than the replacement pools, became 
the principal source of the 18,500 officers needed for overseas replace- 
ments. Responsible commanders followed up The Inspector Gen- 
eral's reports to make certain that officers were removed in instances 
in which such action had been recommended. 30 

By the end of 1943, about 180,000 Reserve officers had been called to 
active duty ; nearly 100,000 civilians had been commissioned directly ; 
approximately 19,000 National Guard officers were in the Federal 
service; and about 300,000 officers had received officer candidate school 

28 WD Cir 280, o Nov 43. 

21 >Memo, WDGS for TAG, 31 Dec 43, sub: Revision of ATI 00. r >-2.°>0. ASF 201.0 (30 
Dec 43) -70. DRB, TAG. 

30 Memo, AAF for Cof S, 12 Mar 44, sub : Disposition of Unsatisfactory Officers. 
DRB, TAG ; Memo, AGF for CofS, 8 Mar 44, sub : Report on Progress in Elimination of 
Unfit Officers. AG 210.01/308 (8 Mar 44). DRB, TAG; Memo, ASF for DCofS, 9 Mar 
44, sub : Report of Action taken and Progress in eliminating unsatisfactory officers. ASF/ 
210.3 Gen (6 Mav 44) -391. DRB, TAG. 



commissions. The total 600,000 from civilian life who became Army 
officers outnumbered the 15,000 Regular Army officers 40 to l. 31 

More than 38,000 men entered officers' training camps under the 
volunteer officer candidate ( VOC) plan which started in March 1942 
and permitted men deferred from the draft by dependency to apply 
for officer training with the understanding that if they did not pass 
preliminary tests they could return to civilian life and resume their 
former draft status. This program was discontinued in 1943 after 
dependency no longer provided draft exemption. 32 

By 1 July 1943, the Army had almost reached the saturation point 
in officers of the grades of lieutenant colonel and colonel. 33 Instruc- 
tions were issued which required 12 months in grade of lieutenant 
colonel prior to promotion to colonel and 9 months in grade of major 
prior to promotion to lieutenant colonel except for officers who demon- 
strated fitness for promotion while in combat. Promotions were not 
to be made unless there were vacancies. 

There were numerous examples of inefficient handling and assign- 
ment of officers. During the summer of 1943, five or six hundred 
officers were hurriedly called to Indiantown Gap to go to England im- 
mediately. There was a change of plans, the officers did not go to 
England but for more than 3 months w T ere not reassigned. Some 
finally went to North Africa and others were placed on detached serv- 
ice at ports of embarkation, but not until after they had remained 
in idleness for a long time and their morale had deteriorated. 

Officers sometimes accumulated in depots overseas as well as in the 
United States. In 1944, field officers were so numerous in Italy that 
many were assigned to positions for which they had little or no train- 
ing and which should have been filled by junior officers. 34 This was 
true in spite of the War Department policy of sending overseas casual 
officers in the lowest grades. The Mediterranean theater, like other 
theaters, at times was short of junior officers for combat assignments. 
Officer replacements in the lower grades which were received in the 
Southwest Pacific area generally were regarded as good. Some diffi- 
culty had been experienced there in making disposition of officers in 
the higher grades of the various arms and services. 35 

In England shortly before D-day, 315 officers were assigned to a 
staff officers' pool which was intended to provide a reserve of trained 
and indoctrinated staff officers. 30 Later the number of officers was 

31 Palmer, and Others, The Procurement and Training of Ground Comhat Troops, p. 91. 
^Ltr, WD, 24 Mar 42, sub: Attendance at OCS of Selective Service Registrants De- 
ferred for Dependency Only. AG 332 (3-19-42). DRB, TAG. 

33 WD, General Council Minutes, 12 Jul 43. 

34 Col. Arthur G. Trudeau, ASF, Report on ASP Installations in North African Theater 
of Operations, 25 Mar 44. AGO 99-33.6 (2065). DRB, TAG. 

35 Report of Replacement Board, bk. Ill, p. 113. 

36 General Board Study No, 3, "Reinforcement System and Reinforcement Procedures 
in ETO," USFET, 1945, p. 45. OCMH, Gen Ref Office. 



reduced to 150, of whom 73 were for the field forces, while the re- 
mainder were available for assignment to higher headquarters, which 
already had been organized, or for assignment in the activation of 
new headquarters. In practice, these officers either were rapidly ab- 
sorbed by expansion of existing headquarters or were attached un- 
assigned as overstrength to units with which they served in battle. 
Higher headquarters usually obtained officers for staff duty by sub- 
mitting requisitions which listed names of those wanted or listed 
special qualifications* The European Command staff officers' pool was 
dissolved in the spring of 1945, but not until after a considerable num- 
ber of officers had remained in it unassigned for a long period of time. 37 

Although it appeared on 1 October 1943 that there would be an 
overall surplus of officers in the Army by the end of that year, such 
a general surplus did not develop. 38 Surpluses existed in certain 
categories, but a general surplus was prevented by curtailment of 
appointments from civil life, reductions in the number of officer candi- 
dates, and the elimination of many officers considered unsatisfactory. 
There were too many antiaircraft and field artillery officers and not 
enough infantry, armor, and engineer officers. Improper distribution 
of branch was the principal difficulty, but it was partially corrected 
through shifts in officer candidate school quotas and by reassigning 
and retraining officers from branches which had surpluses to branches 
which had shortages. 

With but few exceptions Army Ground Forces furnished overseas 
officer loss replacements in the grades of first and second lieutenant. 
On 26 March 1944, Army Ground Forces pointed out that this practice 
caused a heavy drain on the supply of junior officers. 39 It recom- 
mended that in the future officer replacements should include a pro- 
portionate distribution of all grades, The Assistant Chief of Staff, 
G-l, in a check on AGF replacement pools, determined that 94 percent 
of infantry officers awaiting assignment to overseas units were second 
lieutenants. The change in policy proposed by the Army Ground 
Forces was not favorably considered. Most of the replacement officers 
who went overseas during the latter part of the war served as escort 
officers for enlisted men who were going as replacements. 

Unit commanders generally preferred to receive officer replace- 
ments in the grade of second lieutenant, but Maj. Gen. W. W. Eagles, 
45th Division commander, was an exception to this rule in that he 
consistently asked for officers in the grade of the vacancy to be filled. 40 
The reluctance of commanders in the Mediterranean theater of op- 

37 Ibid., p. 49. 

38 WD General Council Minutes, 15 May 44; Memo, WDGS for DCofS, 18 May 44, sub: 
Status of Officer Replacement Pools. Gl } 210.31. DRB, TAG ; Army Almanac, op. cit., 
p. 267. 

39 Memo, AGF for CofS, 26 Mar 44. AG 220.3/2075 (26 Mar 44). DRB, TAG. 

10 Ltr, Hq R and SC to CG, AGF, 25 Mar 44, sub : Replacements in ETOUSA and 



erations to accept officers other than second lieutenants caused such 
an accumulation of officers in Personnel Depot Xo. 2 at Xaples that 
the commanding general, Fifth Army, early in 1944 directed a "forced 
issue'' of officers of higher grades. 41 Except for battlefield commis- 
sions there was no way organization commanders could advance en- 
listed men to commissioned grade except by sending them to officer 
candidate schools. There was no assurance that the men selected as 
officer candidates would be replaced by others who were equally com- 
petent, a situation which sometimes made commanders reluctant to 
part with their promising noncommissioned officers. Battalion and 
regimental commanders needed to be convinced that they were con- 
tributing to a pool from which they later might draw dividends. The 
principal demand upon the officer candidate schools in the United 
States was for fillers for units which were being activated. 

Theater commanders offered many objections to sending men back 
to the United States for officer candidate training. It was feared 
that men once returned to the United States from a combat theater 
would not want to return to combat. Time would be lost in travel 
and the requirements for a 21-day furlough would mean additional 
loss of time. 42 Many of the men in units in combat did not want to 
be officers because they thought the difference in pay between a ser- 
geant and a second lieutenant was not large enough to make up for 
the added responsibility. 

During 1944, about 9,500 officers from other arms and services en- 
tered the various Ground Forces schools for conversion to infantry 
and armor. Approximately 1,200 of these were from technical 
services. 43 

The Reserve Officers Training Corps produced many peacetime 
Eeserve officers but officials of Army Ground Forces believed that 
officer candidate schools, which were established in July 1941, pro- 
duced more efficient officers and they opposed any expansion of the 
Reserve Officers Training Corps. 44 The officer candidate schools at 
first attempted to produce graduates, all of whom were qualified to 
lead ground troops in combat, but since there were some 59,000 ad- 
ministrative positions which did not require combat leadership ability 
the mission of the schools was revised in June 1942, and thereafter 
they produced administrators as well as combat leaders. 

The sharp drop in officer candidate school graduates after 1943 was 
due in part to the fact that fewer units were being formed. In soipe 

41 Ibid. 

42 Palmer, and Others, The Procurement and Training of Ground Combat Troops, pp. 
1H9 -57. 

"Ibid., p. i:s6. 

** Memo, AGF, 20 Jul 42, sub : Study of Expansion of KOTC. AG 326. 6/64. DUB, 

346225 O - 55 - 22 



instances the cuts were too drastic and OCS schools later were ex- 
panded. The number of men commissioned at officer candidate 
schools in the various branches is shown in the following table: 

Graduates of Officer Candidate Schools 19/ f 2-45 


1942 _ _ 54, 233 46, 482 12, 541 

1943 58, 109 60, 590 14, 809 

1944 12,534 17,901 5,832 

1945 9,866 8,365 411 

Total 134, 742 133, 338 45 33, 593 

* Exclusive of 189,000 pilots, navigators, and bombardiers commissioned at aviation cadet schools. 

War Department records indicated that the percentage of medical 
officers being released was greater than for officers of other branches, 
a situation which made the medical officer replacement problem more 
serious. Some of these medical officers were being retired for physical 
disability. A report by The Inspector General, prepared in February 
1944, indicated that during the last 3 months of 1943 there had been 
459 medical officers so retired, many of whom had resumed their 
civilian practice. 46 The policy was revised in an effort to limit the 
number of discharges of medical officers whose services could be uti- 
lized by the Army at fixed installations. Army Service Forces desig- 
nated three centers where medical officers could appear for examination 
for release. 

By the end of 1944, the available officer material in the United States 
had been reduced so greatly that about the only source of canidates was 
the training center graduates. The cream was in the theaters. 47 In 
the overseas theaters, combat officers were produced by direct appoint- 
ment on the battlefield, by officer candidate schools, and to some extent 
by retraining from other branches. 

War Department officials said they did not expect General Mac- 
Arthur to ask for officers from the Zone of the Interior; he had in- 
dicated he would meet his requirements by appointments in the field. 48 
Some officers in the Pacific had said that an outstanding platoon 
sergeant with 6 weeks or so of refresher training would make a better 
officer than could be expected from the United States. Others did not 
agree stating that their experiences would not bear out such a 
statement. 49 

45 Palmer and Others, The Procurement and Training of Ground Combat Troops, p. 326; ASF Statistical 
Review, World War II, p. 224. History of AAF Training Command, 1 Jan 39-V-J Day, VIII, p. 1664. 
Filed in Air University Historical Office. 

46 WD General Council Minutes, 28 Feb 44. 

47 Minutes of Meeting to Discuss ETO Replacement Situation, WDGS, 23 Dec 44. Copy 
in AG 322 Repl (29 Sep 44). Gl files, Dr 258, DUB, TAG. 

48 Ibid. 

49 1st Ind, 11 Jun 52, to ltr, OCMH to Inf School, 6 May 52, sub : Hist of the U. S. 
Army Personnel Replacement System. Copy in HIS 330.14. OCMH. 



In the European theater, by December 1944, about 1000 infantry 
officers were being appointed each month, but that theater was still 
looking to the United States to train a considerable number of the 
officers it needed. For planning purposes, it had been estimated that 
divisions could make approximately 20 combat appointments monthly, 
but 12th Army Group experience had indicated this figure could not 
be met without lowering professional standards. Casualties took a 
heavy tool in potential officers. There were many infantry officers 
assigned to headquarters and to positions other than with infantry, 
but in many instances they were older men. The European theater 
had more sources for officers than it had facilities for training them. 
In December 1944, representatives of that theater said that although 
they were retraining officers for infantry to the limit of their ability, 
they still were unable to meet their requirements. 

In July 1914, Lt. Gen. John C. H. Lee, commanding the Communi- 
cations Zone, had expressed a desire to establish an officers' candidate 
school for training of infantry officers, if the War Department found 
it necessary to increase quotas. 50 General Lee believed that there were 
plenty of outstanding men who could be withdrawn from combat and 
from communications zone units and ( that the splendid facilities of the 
American School Center at Warminster could be used to set up a good 
school under the supervision of the Replacement Command. At that 
time, no War Department decision had been made regarding an OCS 
in Europe. 

The officer candidate school in the European theater was opened at 
the 9th Reinforcement Depot on 31 January 1945. 51 A group of 30 
officers and 4 enlisted men from Fort Benning assisted in the organ- 
ization and opening of the school which provided for 12 weeks of 
training for candidates prior to the time they received their commis- 
sions. Infantry lieutenants who had received battlefield commissions 
were given 3 weeks' training in another course at this depot, while 
those who had been shifted to infantry from other branches received 
8 weeks of instruction. 52 There were 499 men who had graduated 
and received commissions prior to 8 May 1945, while 5,626 had been 
enrolled. Those commissioned after V-E Day brought the total to 
4,167. Officer candidates commissioned in other overseas schools 
included: Australia, 3,649; Fiji Islands, 287; Mediterranean theater, 
194 ; and jSTew Caledonia, 367. 

With regard to officers, the problem of quality was always more 
pressing than the problem of quantity. There seldom was any short- 
age in the total number of officers on duty except during the periods 

°°L,tr, Gl, WDGS to CofS, 26 Jul 44, sub: Inspection of ETO Replacement System. 
Copy in AG 322 Replacements. Gl Files, Dr 255. DRB, TAG. 
61 Cir 13, ETOTJSA, 31 Dec 45. 
6a General Board Study No. 3, op. cit. } p. 26. 



of most rapid expansion, but there were many shortages in officers with 
special qualifications including company grade combat officers, medi- 
cal officers, and engineers. During periods of expansion, officers were 
produced quickly and promoted rapidly ; but when a reduction became 
necessary there would be too many officers and their grades would 
be too high. Although the unfit could be eliminated, there were many 
who were capable, but not needed. It was difficult to eliminate them 
without stigma, and once they had been eliminated equally difficult 
to get them back if they were needed again in another expansion of 
the armed services. The Officer Procurement Service was discon- 
tinued as a separate administrative agency 15 June 1945 and the 
functions it had performed were transferred to the Military Per- 
sonnel Division, Army Service Forces. 53 


Prior to 1908, military units preparing for foreign service trans- 
ferred to other organizations those members whose remaining periods 
of service were less than the 2 or 3 years the unit was required to 
spend overseas and who did not indicate that they intended to 
reenlist. 5 * This system was so unsatisfactory that in 1908 regiments 
which were preparing for foreign service started transferring to other 
units only those persons who had less than 4 months to serve. This 
practice made it necessary to replace many men after arrival at 
foreign stations. In 1912, the replacing of individuals in units on 
foreign service became general and the practice of rotating units 
after short periods abroad was abandoned. The Army's experience 
in furnishing peacetime replacements to overseas garrisons indicated 
that the replacement of individuals was more satisfactory than the 
rotation of units and probably exercised considerable influence on 
wartime policy. 55 

Experiments in which home regiments recruited men for regiments 
on foreign service did not prove successful and recommendations 
against this practice were submitted in 1922. 56 General recruiting 
was regarded as a more satisfactory means of obtaining men for 
overseas. By 1939, there were approximately 56,400 soldiers on 
foreign service and an overseas replacement pool of about 6,000 men 
was considered necessary. 

When the United States established overseas bases in a number of 
key positions in 1941, it soon became apparent that a sound policy 

53 WD Cir 161, 2 Jun 45. 

M Memo, Gl to CofS, 15 Dec 39, sub : Comparison of Individual and Unit Replacement 
Systems for Personnel on Foreign Service. G-l/15943. DRB, TAG. 
56 Statement, Col C. Hildebrand (Ret) . HIS 330.14. OCMH. 

59 Memo, Choflnf to CofS, 21 Jun 22, sub : Replacements for Infantry Regiments in the 
Philippine Department. AG 322.96/5308-A. DRB, TAG. 



regarding replacements and rotation for men stationed at those bases 
was essential for maintenance of health, morale, and efficiency. In 
November 1941, there were more than 150,000 men serving in these 
garrisons, distributed as follows : 

Alaska 22,640 

Hawaii 42, 906 

Panama 31,438 

Philippines 19,073 

Puerto Rico_ 21,156 

Bermuda 1, 352 

British Guiana 518 

Dutch Guiana 918 

Greenland 673 

Newfoundland 2, 087 

St. Lucia 582 

Trinidad 2, 071 

St. Croix 2 

Jamaica 306 

Antigua 300 

Iceland 57 6, 156 

Policies regarding replacements for these bases were established after 
consultation with the Navy, which in many instances was interested 
from the standpoint of providing the shipping. In November 1941, 
it was announced that 2 years would be considered the normal tour 
of duty in the Department of the Philippines, Panama, Puerto Eico, 
Bermuda, and Alaska, 58 a period which had been accepted for a num- 
ber of years in most overseas stations. Extensions for a third year 
were authorized. Only Eegular Army enlisted men were sent to 
Greenland and Newfoundland where the normal tour of duty was 1 
year, with an extension of another year authorized if the soldier so 

The attack on Pearl Harbor interrupted the War Department's 
prewar routine used in sending replacements to overseas garrisons. 
In March 1942, the Personnel Division, SOS, suggested that tours of 
duty outside the continental United States, except where combat op- 
erations made the policy impractical, should be for a minimum of 1 
year and a maximum of 2 years, depending upon the particular sta- 
tion. 59 The Division believed that at overseas stations where combat 
was not imminent periodic relief was essential to maintain health 
and morale. It was suggested that not less than 414 nor more than 
8y 2 percent be relieved each month. Also it was proposed that the 
Assistant Chief of Staff, WPD, should from time to time recom- 
mend the stations to which such a policy, because of strategic reasons, 
should not apply. It was further suggested that the Assistant Chief 
of Staff, WPD, should recommend a percentage within these limita- 
tions, which would be applied to each overseas station for relief and 

The strength of overseas garrisons and bases was about 200,000 
men and the Personnel Division of the War Department General 

57 WD TAG, "Strength Report of the Army," 30 Nov 41. 

68 Memo, WDGS, Gl, 21 Nov 41, sub : Length of Tours of Foreign Service. G-l/16308- 
147. DRB, TAG. 

59 Memo, Hq SOS, for ACof S, WPD, 14 Mar 42, sub : Regular Relief of Personnel at 
Overseas Stations. G-l/16368-41. DRB, TAG. 



Staff considered that a replacement pool of 10,000 casuals would be 
sufficient ; but that number was not available. 60 Previously, personnel 
for this purpose had been carried in the War Department overhead, 
but the Personnel Division opposed additional transfers to this over- 
head which would result in the reduction of the strength of any unit 
or activity under the war conditions then existing. It recommended 
that the personnel be included in the next augmentation of the Army. 

The Services of Supply pointed out that rotation would decrease 
the number of combat troops that could be moved overseas. In view 
of the limitations on transportation it was recommended that indi- 
vidual situations requiring special action in regard to rotation be 
considered on their merits. Shipping was such a bottleneck that many 
troops had been waiting for weeks. 61 G3 was of the opinion that, 
except for isolated detachments or where climatic conditions made 
it mandatory, no fixed policy for the relief of personnel at overseas 
stations should be established at that time. 

The War Plans Division, WDGS, believed that a policy which 
would provide for rotation was desirable, but feared that its applica- 
tion would prove impractical due to lack of shipping and because of 
strategic considerations. However, the War Plans Division directed 
that, although the replacement plan might be subject to interruption 
and even suspension in some areas, it would remain in effect. When 
the advisability of continuing the replacement policy in any theater 
became questionable, a decision was to be obtained from the War 
Plans Division. 

The conception under which the United States fought World War 
II was that a minimum number of divisions would be used and that 
these divisions would be kept continuously in combat and maintained 
at effective strength by a steady flow of replacements. The stark reali- 
ties of combat disclosed that under such a system combat soldiers 
could look forward to an ultimate destiny which could be nothing 
other than wounds, mental or physical breakdown, or death itself. 
This grim prospect brought the realization that continuous combat 
for divisions required a rotation program. 

Many Congressmen displayed keen interest in the War Depart- 
ment policies on rotation. In July 1943, Rep, Overton Brooks of Lou- 
isiana wrote to Secretary of War Stimson in regard to the replacement 
policy. Replying for Secretary Stimson, Administrative Assistant 
John W. Martyn said that troops abroad were being constantly 
watched over by men long experienced in detecting any change in 
health or morale. He added : 

60 Memo, Gl to CofS, 9 Dec 41, sub: Overseas Replacement Pool. G-l/15460-5. 

61 Memo, WDGS to CG's, Overseas Stations, 14 Mar 42, sub : Regular Relief of Personnel 
at Overseas Stations. G-l/16368-41. DRB, TAG. 



There is no disinclination or oversight on the part of the War Department 
which limits the rotation or furloughing of these isolated groups. Such limi- 
tations as do exist are imposed by lack of shipping facilities and the strate- 
gical and tactical considerations. 62 

In October 1943, Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts, in report- 
ing on visits to theaters of operation, said the soldiers demanded a 
definite policy which would relieve men after they had served a certain 
time overseas. Five senators who had visited the war fronts summed 
up their impressions by saying, "The men who are bearing the brunt 
of the battle do not feel that the true picture of their hardships is 
being given the public." General McNair presented another angle 
of this situation when he said in an address over the NBC Army Hour 
28 November 1943 that u the infantryman not only takes far more 
than half our total battle losses, but he endures the greatest hard- 
ships." On 4 December 1943, the War Department said insufficient 
shipping was the insurmountable obstacle to rotation. 63 

Many in the War Department realized that there were persons in 
the overseas forces who were not ill enough for hospitalization, but 
whose condition was such that there would be pressure from their 
friends and relatives to have them returned to the Zone of the Interior. 
Generally, officers in the War Department were not fully convinced 
that the return of a large number of men from overseas was necessary 
or desirable. Prior to June 1943, the return of such persons was ac- 
complished through correspondence with overseas commanders. The 
first statement on an Army-wide policy was made in June 1943. 64 

Although there was no established rotation system during the early 
part of the war, almost a quarter of a million men had returned to the 
United States from overseas by January 1944 and their assignment 
had become an administrative problem for the War Department. By 
V-E Day, more than a million and a quarter had returned and about 
half a million had been placed on duty in the United States, the re- 
mainder being mainly those on temporary furloughs, hospitalized, or 

The June 1943 directive on rotation provided theater commanders 
with a means for giving relief to individuals whose morale or health 
had deteriorated and whose effectiveness could not be restored by 
intratheater rotation. No minimum term of service was prescribed 
but the program was to conform to military requirements and avail- 
able shipping. The theater commander was responsible for determin- 
ing whether or not rotation would be instituted in his theater. The 
War Department required monthly consolidated reports listing num- 

62 Army and Navy Journal, 4 Dec 43. 

63 IMd., 10 Jul, 9 Oct, and 4 Dec 43. 

w Unnumbered WD Cir, 28 Jun 43, sub : Rotation and Return of Military Personnel as 
Individuals ; Statement, Brig Gen A. W. Trudeau. HIS 330.14. OCMH. 



bers by arm and service available for rotation, including names of 
field officers. 

Overseas commanders took varying actions as a result of this War 
Department announcement on rotation. The Caribbean Defense 
Command announced individuals would be eligible after 24 months' 
service; the North African theater initially prescribed 6 months; 
while the commander in chief, Southwest Pacific Area, said shipping 
and personnel were inadequate to inaugurate the program. 

The announcement of the policy brought to the War Department 
many letters from soldiers and their families urging rotation and 
charging injustice and unfairness. The War Department yielded to 
the public clamor and on 29 December 1943 advised the theater com- 
manders that a rotation program on the basis of returning 1 percent 
per month would become effective 1 March 1944. Theater com- 
manders determined their own methods of selection but informed the 
War Department of action taken. The War Department asked for 
reports or requirements for rotation replacements, broken down by 
branch or arm, grade, and rank, not less than 3 months prior to con- 
templated shipment of rotation replacements from the United States. 
The commander in chief, Southwest Pacific Area, said it was imprac- 
tical to submit requested reports in the detail desired 3 months in ad- 
vance and also objected to receiving replacements in the higher com- 
missioned and noncommissioned grades because the arrival of these 
higher grades would deny promotions to persons who had remained 
in the theater. The War Department therefore authorized the first 
3 months 5 requisitions to show only totals by arm or service but required 
that thereafter rotation replacements would correspond as nearly as 
possible in grade and branch to the personnel returned to the Zone 
of the Interior. 65 

Throughout the operation of the rotation program, which continued 
until June 1945 when the program of "readjustment" 66 was started, 
theater commanders were given complete freedom in the selection of 
personnel. The War Department apparently lacked accurate figures 
on the length of service of soldiers in the various theaters. In the 
Southwest Pacific, men were first told that rotation would not be 
permitted ; then that the period would be 18 months, then 24 months, 
and later 30 months. These announcements brought a drop in morale 
rather than a boost. When men were selected 3 months in advance 
their efficiency tended to drop during the long period of waiting. 

Rotational replacements to take the places of those who were being 
relieved in the theaters started leaving the United States in October 
1944 and continued in some volume until January 1945 when the Ger- 

66 WD Cir 58, 9 Feb 44 ; WD Cir 8, 6 Jan 45. 

w WD Cir 101, 4 Apr 46 in Report of the Replacement Board, bk. IV, p. 17. 



man offensive caused fewer men to be returned from Europe. Ship- 
ments of replacements to permit the return of those men overseas who 
had adjusted service ratings above the interim score started in May 
1945. Monthly departures from United States ports during the first 
4. months of the rotation period were : 



October 19U 



1Qt / 



It) 1^0 

Officers, total 

Ground Forces 
Service Forces 
Air Forces 

Enlisted, total 

Ground Forces 
Service Forces 
Air Forces 

5, 538 


1, 395 


2, 564 


1, 937 

2, 677 




1, 623 

52, 862 

14, 962 

15, 327 

9, 477 

13, 096 

14, 476 
21, 666 
16, 720 

3, 144 
8, 250 
3, 568 

5, 983 
3, 924 
5, 420 

4, 117 
4, 517 

4, 506 

5, 375 
67 3, 215 

Some officers who left the United States as rotational replacements 
were erroneously informed that they were being sent overseas to fill 
specific positions. 68 There was a considerable time lag between the 
departure of an officer from a theatre and the arrival of his replace- 
ments; frequently the vacancy had been filled. Overseas commands 
were authorized to use any personnel received either as loss replace- 
ments or as rotational replacements so long as such exchange did not 
effect a reduction in the total number of loss replacements. 69 All 
agencies were directed not to advise officers leaving the United States 
that they were being ordered overseas for a specific assignment in any 
overseas command. 

Eotation presented an additional complication for the already com- 
plicated replacement system. 70 The War Department expected to 
provide rotational replacements on a grade-for-grade and MOS-for- 
MOS basis — a complicated procedure. Selections in the theaters 
could seldom be kept secret from the men involved and this knowledge 
frequently interfered with efficiency. Rotation might provide a goal 
that a man overseas could work for, but there was great danger that 
promises might be made which the fortunes of war would make im- 
possible of fulfillment. For each broken promise, the loss of morale 

07 ASF Monthly Progress Reports, Oct 44-.Tan 45. 
68 USAFFE to WD, CM-IN 19651, 20 Dec 44. 

68 WD, Memo No. W600-44, 23 May 44, sub : Implementation of Oversea Rotation Policy. 
ASF/210.31 SWPA (20 Dec 44). DRB, TAG. 
™ WD Cir 59, 9 Feb 44 ; WD Cir 8, 6 Jan 45. 



more than offset the gains which might have resulted had the promise 
been kept. There was always the danger that those remaining behind 
would think they were more deserving than the ones selected to go. 

In the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, the first plan was to 
fill vacancies created by rotation with replacements direct from the 
Zone of the Interior. 71 Persons proposed for rotation were returned 
at the discretion of major commanders. There was either a long 
vacancy in the position or a long wait on the part of the person being 
returned. Several months later it was decided to fill vacancies im- 
mediately from replacement pools which absorbed replacements sent 
from the Zone of the Interior, but even under this system some vacan- 
cies existed for 6 months. The War Department finally authorized 
the theater to fill by promotions within units those rotation vacancies 
which had existed as long as 6 months. Many unit commanders indi- 
cated preference for temporary duty rather than rotation as a means 
of rest and recuperation. While this method was almost certain to 
result in a vacancy for at least 3 months, it gave the unit commander 
a better basis for planning than did the uncertain practices under the 
rotation system. 

Returnees who arrived in ports in the United States were taken 
immediately from shipside to a debarkation center where some kind 
of an official welcome, usually including a band, was given the men. 
Within 48 hours, the new arrivals usually were on their way to the 
reception stations nearest their homes where they were received with 
another ceremony, clothing was issued if needed, and pay accounts 
were brought up to date ; and within another 24 hours, the men were 
on their way to their homes for furloughs that varied from 2 to 6 
weeks. At the conclusion of these furloughs, the returnees went to 
redistribution stations or reassignment centers where they underwent 
another series of examinations after which they received new assign- 

Only men with the longest time overseas were eligible under the 
plan announced in 1944. Theater commanders distributed monthly 
quotas among units, the amount of service necessary for eligibility 
being different in different theaters. Some units selected men by lot, 
others sent home their least useful members. From the viewpoint of 
the soldier, there was never more than a trickle of men sent back to 
the United States. Men in the Pacific estimated it would take more 
than 8 years for all of them to be sent home. 

Overseas commanders frequently selected for rotation men who 
were physically disqualified for overseas service thus cutting off any 
hope the physically fit men might have for an early return. A cross 

" History of the Replacement and Training Command, MTO, Aug 45, Gl Section Activi- 
ties, p. 3. 8-4 AB. OCMH, Gen Ttef Office. 



section of rotational returnees on duty in the United States in June 
1945 was interviewed and one-third reported they had been classified 
as physically disqualified. 72 

Leave and rest camps provided a substitute for rotation in many 
instances. Some divisions were able to utilize recreation facilities in 
their rear areas. In Europe, vacation centers such as Xice and the 
Bavarian Alps were made available through special service tours. 
Soldiers in the Pacific were given temporary duty in Australia or Xew 
Zealand, when possible. 

The Service Forces frequently desired to send overseas, or to recall 
from overseas bases, officers who were experts with certain items of 
equipment, but frequently it was difficult to arrange transportation. 73 
In some instances, reassignment was found more practical, with the 
result that the Service Forces built up a limited rotation system for 
the purpose of maintaining liaison. Officers from overseas were 
called to the United States for periods of duty of about 6 months. 
The War Department preferred that requests for such assignments 
originate with theater commanders rather than in the Zone of the In- 
terior. 74 After 1944, officers who returned under the regular rotation 
program were used for liaison purposes. 

The President in his 1 June 1945 message to Congress said : 

It is our plan that every physically fit soldier in the United States who has 
not yet served overseas be assigned to foreign duty when he completed his 
training, or, if he is filling an essential administrative or service job, as soon 
as he can be replaced by a returning veteran. This has been the Army's pol- 
icy since the beginning of the war. It will be rigidly adhered to in the re- 
deployment period. 

The Secretary of War on 9 July 1945 ordered that qualified male 
officers and enlisted men serving in the Zone of the Interior who had 
not served a minimum of 6 months overseas be replaced by 1 May 1946 
and given foreign assignments to the maximum extent that replace- 
ments became available through the return of overseas veterans. 75 
Special emphasis was placed on sending men and officers overseas 
who were under 35 years of age. Enlisted men over 38 years of age 
were exempt unless they requested overseas assignment in writing, as 
were physically disqualified officers and enlisted men. Sole surviv- 
ing sons were exempted under the "War Department's nonhazardous 
duty policy. 

72 The American Soldier: Combat and its Aftermath ("Studies in Social Psychology, 
World War II," II [Princeton, 1949] ), p. 460. 

73 Memo, Hq ASF, 3 Jul 43, sub : Liaison between Chiefs of Technical Services and 
Theaters of Operations. ASF 210 (5-3-43). DRB, TAG; Ltr, WDAGO, 6 Jul 43, sub; 
Liaison Officers. AG 210.13. DRB, TAG. 

74 Memo for Rec, attached to 1st Ind, Ltr, Hq ASF, 26 Nov 43, sub : Request for Orders. 
SPOPP 210.482 (11-22-43). DRB, TAG. 

75 Army and Xavy Register, 14 Jul 45. 



In an effort to determine what lessons could be derived from battle 
casualties during World War II the Army Ground Forces in Sep- 
tember 1946 conducted a casualty study which recommended that a 
rotation policy was necessary for the frontline soldier. It was sug- 
gested that such a system should imply relief from frontline service 
after 1 year, but that individual rotation was better than unit rota- 
tion. A simple system was recommended and the warning was given 
that once such a system was set up it must be rigorously carried out, 
otherwise more harm than good would result. 76 It was recommended 
that rotation be based on time in combat rather than on time over- 
seas, but the report also stated that the number of days of frontline 
service required should not be so high as to appear unobtainable. 
Other findings included statements that replacements must not be 
thrown directly into the line ; that the soldier fights primarily because 
of self-respect and group loyalty; and that special honors must be 
given frontline soldiers. It wafe recommended that divisional 
T/O&E's should include an organization of company size to assim- 
ilate replacements, condition hospital returnees, handle certain types 
of exhaustion cases, and operate recreation and rest centers. 

The Chief of Staff designated the Plans Section of the Headquar- 
ters, Army Ground Forces, as the agency to act on the recommenda- 
tions made in the AGF casualty study. On 22 July 1947, the Plans 
Section completed a study on rotation in which it was stated that the 
need for some form of rotation for the soldier who performs contin- 
uous frontline duty is beyond dispute. 77 It was pointed out that at 
the close of the war all but 2 of the 89 divisions organized by 
the United States Army had seen action. The hard usage of these 
divisions had been hazardous and resulted in heavy losses. It ap- 
peared that American divisions were used much harder than those 
of the Allies or even those of the enemy. General Devers had con- 
cluded in February 1944 that divisions should not be left in the line 
longer than 30 or 40 days in an active theater. The study also pointed 
out that in World War II the United States was fighting an enemy 
whose principal forces were engaged on another front and it was not 
likely that in another major war American troops would meet an 
adversary who would be inferior in ground arms. 

The study urged that the concept of rotation of units be taught in 
schools and written into manuals so that it would become standard 
operating procedure. The system of individual rotation which was 
proposed was not to guarantee that a man would not engage in com- 

76 Ltr, Hq AGF, 23 Oct 46, sub : Study of AGF Battle Casualties. AG 704/225 (14 Oct 
46). DRB, TAG. 

" Memo, Plans Sec, AGF to CG, AGF, 23 July 47, sub : Wartime flotation of Front 
Line Fighters. AG 370 (23 Jul 47). DRB, TAG. 



bat again, but it was to guarantee him relief from frontline combat 
for a definite and uninterrupted period. It would not, however, guar- 
antee a trip home or even out of the theater. 

The fact that the Army was heavily burdened with administrative 
work was noted, and it was recommended that the system for rotation 
be kept extremely simple. Eecords normally kept by units were be- 
lieved sufficient to determine the number of days members were in 
combat and to provide a basis to determine eligibility for rotation. 
It was concluded that a 250-day individual rotation policy would 
cause only a 5 to 10 percent increase in the replacement requirements 
of infantry units, an increase which would not start to operate until 
after nearly a year of combat. It was believed that this could be met 
by combing rear areas for men qualified for combat rather than by 
increasing shipments from the Zone of the Interior. 

Individual rotation was considered practical only if unit rotation 
was practiced. Unit rotation was said to promise longer life for the 
frontline fighter, to assure a reserve, and to provide units with an 
opportunity to reequip, to assimilate replacements, to review the les- 
sons of battle, and to carry out such reorganization as might be 

Maj. Gen. Fred L. Walker, who commanded the 36th Division from 
September 1941 until June 1944, in stressing the need for individual 
rotation said : 

I am of the opinion that such a system should be installed for morale 
reasons. I do not think any one citizen of the United States should be re- 
quired, merely upon the chance of his original assignment, to undergo hard- 
ship and battle throughout a war while at the same time his neighbor, upon 
the chance of his original assignment, is permitted to serve throughout the 
war in relative comfort and security in a noncombat unit. 78 

Many commanders favored individual rotation because they did 
not believe that relief of divisions would have been practical under 
World War II conditions. They pointed out that to have changed 
entire divisions would have been a wasteful, time-consuming process, 
which would have slowed up any momentum that had beeh gained 
and which would have nullified the priceless asset of using experi- 
enced combat soldiers. Some officers believed that after a consider- 
able period of combat relief of a third or a fourth of a division at a 
time would have been feasible and that such a system would have 
permitted those division units which were in rest areas to have ab- 
sorbed replacements and regained maximum efficiency. 79 

There were complaints that individual rotation broke up effective 
units and left them less efficient. Maj. Gen. John S. Wood, who com- 

78 Statement, Maj. Gen. Fred L. Walker. HIS 330.14. OCMH. 

79 Statement, Brig. Gen. O. P. Lange. HIS 330.14. OCMH. 



manded the 4th Armored Division from May 1942 until December 
1944, declared : 

The best system in war is to remove divisions from action and reestablish 
tbeir combat effectiveness before again committing them. The ability to 
judge the moment for their withdrawal is one of the marks of a real com- 
mander. Unfortunately, under the misguided conception that kept divisions 
continuously in combat with no play of reserves, division commanders found 
great difficulty in achieving any proper rotation of their own units. Individual 
rotation destroys unit teamplay and is about as poor a system as has been 
developed in thousands of years of warfare. 80 

Another officer who was familiar with the operation of the rotation 
policy during World War II said : 

I believe that the individual rotation policy during World War II was inef- 
fective and that it reduced combat efficiency. The policy as announced created 
the impression among overseas troops that they would be relieved from com- 
bat within a reasonable time. A morale problem resulted when this relief 
failed to materialize. There was insufficient replacement personnel to carry 
out any large scale rotation policy. Also the policy of replacing rotated per- 
sonnel with individuals in the same grade and MOS from the Zone of the 
Interior had a bad morale effect on overseas units. The Zone of the Interior 
replacements often lacked the experience necessary for them to fill the assign- 
ments and in addition their arrival materially reduced the chances of deserving 
individuals within the units to gain promotions. 81 


High morale depended upon satisfactory standards of housing, mess, 
clothing, recreation, and other facilities ; it could not be maintained 
if training standards were low. Some commanders reported good 
results from informal "gabfests" with groups of enlisted men and 
young officers. 82 Close personal contact between officers and men was 
necessary. Reports from training center commanders indicated that 
morale was improved by early organization of recent arrivals into 
groups or units and by developing acting leaders from within these 
units. Emphasis on teamwork and individual initiative was also an 
important morale factor. Upon their arrival at a center, the men 
needed a logical and sensible explanation of what was expected of 
them, but if such orientation was overdone it would become tiresome 
and there would be little response. 

It was apparent by June 1941 that uncertainty as to their future 
employment was adversely affecting the training and morale of the 
National Guard and Reserve components. 83 When the House of Rep- 

80 Statement, Maj. Gen. John S. Wood (Ret). HIS 330.14. OCMH. 

81 Statement, Lt. Col. William R. Moore. HIS 330.14. OCMH. 

82 Statement, Maj. Gen. C. H. White. HIS 330.14. OCMH. 

83 Memo, Gl to CofS, 5 Jun 41, sub: Declaration of National Emergency; Joint Reso- 
lution for action of Congress in Declaring a National Emergency and Authorizing use of 
Land Forces. G-l/16117-78. DRB, TAG. 



resentatives by a one-vote margin in August 1941 passed the measure 
keeping draftees and Guardsmen in service for an additional period, 
the morale situation was brought to public attention. The night after 
the Service Extension bill was passed Secretary Stimson went on the 
air to broadcast a message to the Army: he appealed for patience 
and understanding. 84 

The reaction of the Guardsmen and selectees to the uncertain situa- 
tion which existed during the summer of 1941 was similar to the reac- 
tion which later developed among the soldiers with regard to the 
uncertain demobilization situation that existed in 1945-46. 85 

One officer sent out to inspect the situation in the camps thought 
that the much reported "loss of morale" in the National Guard divi- 
sions existed mainly in the minds of newspaper reporters, feature 
writers, and in the opinions of the families of men in the service. He 

Almost all officers and men were agreed that the only period of serious dis- 
content was during the debate on the subject of extension of service, and that 
the final passage of the Act made for a feeling of resignation which was crys- 
tallized to almost universal acceptance 'by the publishing of the 14 to 18 
months' policy of the War Department. 86 

This inspector believed that one reason for the large number of 
AWOL's in some of the regiments was that members of families were 
encouraging the men to take advantage of the mild punishment given 
to absentees who were apprehended. A soldier could work in the coal 
mines for 2 or 3 weeks, collect his pay, return to his organization, and 
be ahead financially, even after he had paid a light fine, which was the 
punishment most frequently imposed. 

The morale of men usually was high at the time they left the replace- 
ment training centers. While they were moving from one installation 
to another within the replacement system their morale deteriorated in 
direct proportion to the indifference of those who were in charge of 
the movements. 87 

One training center commander had this to say regarding morale : 

Plan training so there will be no waste of time. If a job is completed, 
quit. Do not fill in time. The trainee must feel that everything he does is 
worth while. Have a minimum of talk and a maximum of action. When the 
men are off duty see that they are completely off duty and do not nag them 
with all kinds of trifling jobs and details. Turn them loose whenever you 
can do so and forbid any needless, officious pestering by MP's. 88 

84 Henry L. Stimson, "You will Not Falter — You Cannot Fail," Vital Speeches, VII (1 
Sep 41) p. 685. 

65 For complete discussion of demobilization in World War II, See DA Pam 20-210, 
History of Personnel Demobilization in the United States Army, Jul 52, ch. III. 

86 Memo, Gl to Cof S, 18 Sep 41, sub : Observations Made During the Third Army Ma- 
neuvers, Aug 17-18, 1941. G-l/14201-100. DRB, TAG. 

87 Memo, Gl to CofS, 23 Jan 45, sub : Handling of Combat Replacements. AG 322 Repl 
(22 Feb 45). DRB, TAG. 

88 Statement, Brig. Gen. O. F. Lange (Ret.). HIS 330.14. OCMH. 



Many camp commanders found they could help morale by sending 
letters to mothers of inductees soon after the men arrived. Mother's 
Day messages also were helpful. Commanding officers who talked 
personally with trainees about their personal problems usually received 
favorable response. 89 

The theaters designed orientation programs to build up and main- 
tain the morale of the replacements after their arrival. In the Euro- 
pean theater, which had a program similar to that in the other theaters, 
efforts were made to develop in each soldier the belief that he was ade- 
quately equipped and trained to play his role in combat. Immediately 
after his arrival at a depot the replacement attended an orientation lec- 
ture, given by the commanding officer of the depot or his representa- 
tive, emphasizing the position of the American soldiers in the Euro- 
pean Theater of Operations and discussing relations with the people 
of the country in which the depot was located. 90 One hour each week 
was devoted to orientation meetings and the soldier was brought up 
to date on developments in the war and instructed regarding any new 
policies applicable to his behavior in the theater. Radio and loud- 
speaking equipment was made available for news broadcasts and pro- 
grams of thhe Allied Forces Network and other features. Situation 
maps of all war theaters, with particular emphasis on the European 
Theater of Operations, were displayed in each depot and kept up to 
date. When possible, the training film Why We Fight was shown to 
replacements during their stop in the depot. The Stars and Stripes 
and Yank were distributed along with such periodicals and news mag- 
azines as were available. 

Public Relations 

Prior to the 1941 expansion of the Army, press relations for the War 
Department were handled by a small section within the Military In- 
telligence Division. 91 The expansion focused the attention of the 
country on the military establishment and War Department officials 
believed there was a demand from newspapers, radio, and similar in- 
formation media for accurate information as to what the national 
defense effort actually was. When requests for information became 
too numerous for the Military Intelligence Division Press Section to 
handle, the Secretary of War established the Bureau of Public Rela- 
tions, which later becam'e known as the Public Relations Division of 
the War Department Special Staff. 

The public relations men in the field were on the staffs of the armies, 
corps, and divisions and at the large posts, camps, and stations. They 

89 Statement, Maj. Gen. John H. Hester (Ret). HIS 330.14. OCMH. 

90 Ltr, Hq GFRC, ETO, to Hq AGF, 18 Aug 44, sub : Orientation Program of the Ground 
Force Replacement System. Copy in AG 322 Repl (10 Aug 44). DRB, TAG. 

91 Hearings, 76th Cong., on WD civil, military, and supplemental bills, FY 1942, I, p. 189. 



had direct dealings with installations of the replacement system. 
These officers were not under the Bureau of Public Relations in Wash- 
ington except for advice. They were directly under the command of 
the commanders in the field, who had sole responsibility for public 
relations matters pertaining to their units. Tables of organization 
provided for public relations officers in the G2 sections on the staffs 
of commanders of posts, armies, corps, and divisions. 

The opening of camps, frequently in poor weather and with poor 
housing and living accommodations, offered problems in public rela- 
tions. Generally, newspaper men were invited to the camps, as was 
done when the 31st Division arrived at Camp Blanding. In this in- 
stance, the newspapers were tactful in their reference to camp condi- 
tions and later they were able to point out improvements. The 
criticism throughout the country probably was less than it would have 
been had the newspaper writers had less information. Brig. Gen. 
Robert C. Richardson, chief of the Public Relations Division, told 
the House of Representatives Appropriation Committee on 2 May 
1941 : 

I have found in my short dealings with the press, and the other media of 
expression, that they are more than cooperative, they are more than willing to 
do the right thing, and when they do write destructive articles, it is because 
they have not had the proper background, they have not an education in the 
subject at hand. . . . 

We realize that in this great effort there are going to be many mistakes. 
There is no attempt to hide the mistakes in any sense at all ; but we do think 
there should be proportion in presenting them so therfe will be no confusion 
in the minds of our people. . . . 

If we ca'n only take a group of our best editors around to the camps, if they 
can see one or two camps, they have a picture of the whole thing. 

During December 1944, the Rome edition of the Stars and Stripes 
carried six articles on the replacement system which were intended to 
clear up the misunderstandings of the men in the service. 92 The intro- 
ductory note which accompanied the first article said, "Conscious of 
unwholesome situations frequently arising from unfounded rumor and 
half truths, the Stars and Stripes recently assigned a member of its 
staff to assemble the facts on the operation and functions of the Re- 
placement Command in this theater. The task involved personal visits 
to the installations mentioned in the resulting series of articles." Cpl. 
Ed Hogan, who wrote the series, frankly admitted the defects during 
the early operation of the replacement system but he claimed "the 
much-maligned replacement depot has dug itself out of the mud and 
an honest effort is being made to give a new meaning to 'unassigned, 
once a synonym for unhappy. 5 " The first article presented a general 

92 Cpl Ed Hogan "On the Replacement System" Stars and Stripes (Kome edition) 10-16 
Dec 44. 

346225 O - 55 - 23 



discussion of the replacement system; the second was devoted to the 
previous operation of the replacement system ; the third discussed the 
organization of the Replacement Command ; the fourth described the 
operation of the depots; the. fifth discussed the training of men who 
had been released from hospitals ; and the sixth had to do with con- 
version training. 


Tables of organization originally made no provision for filling 
vacancies caused by sickness, furloughs, or other temporary absences ; 
instead, each individual in a unit was permanently assigned a job. 
Officers who reported on the 1939 and 1940 maneuvers said the de- 
mands for officer candidates, for men as trained specialists, for cadres, 
and for other purposes had been so heavy that many units were under- 
strength. No statistics were available to determine the average level 
of noneffectives, but the best informed opinion placed it at about 10 
percent. 93 

In following the provisions of the staff studies on the triangular 
division made in August 1940, an attempt was made to provide an 
over strength of basics in the lowest grade, except in headquarters 
above brigade level, by giving ground and service units an additional 
10 percent above normal operating strength. Tables of organization 
did not specify specific jobs for these added men because it was assumed 
they would be used to fill the places of ineffectives. 94 The arguments 
favoring basics stressed the wartime need for efficiency and the advan- 
tage of keeping all units at full strength. In addition, all commands 
were exerting pressure to form new units. The War Department 
General Staff did not regard this demand as compatible with the man- 
power and equipment available and believed that the assignment as 
basics of a large part of the block of numbers in the troop basis not 
committed to units would relieve this pressure. 95 

The assignment of basics, later termed fillers, 96 to table of organiza- 
tion units placed an added drain on manpower. After basics joinc ' 
their units they tended to lose their identity ; officers considered them 
available for assignment the same as other men. Once assignments 
were made they frequently could not be changed and emergency short- 
ages still could not be filled. 

93 Ltr, WDAGO, 31 Mar 42, sub : Policies Governing Tables of Organization and Tables 
of Basic Allowances. ASF 320.2 (3i-l 3-42), par. 4. DRB, TAG; Statement, Lt Gen. 
H. R. Bull. HIS 330,14. OCMH ; Statement, Brig. Gen. Robert W. Berry. HIS 330.14. 
OCMH; Statement, Maj. Gen. Russell B. Reynolds (Ret). HIS 330.14. OCMH. 

04 WD Memo W310-0-43, 22 Mar 43. 

95 Statement, Col. Thomas T. Stevenson, USAR. HIS 330.14. OCMH. 

96 The term "filler" as used here denotes a man in excess of normal manpower require- 
ments but provided for in tables of organization. This differs from "filler replacements," 
used to bring units to original strength, as defined in TM 20-205, "Dictionary of United 
States Army Military Terms," p. 109. 



Some commanders regarded basics as an advance issue of replace- 
ments, but the War Department did not expect any reduction in re- 
placement requirements. Increasing the number of men on the lowest 
rung of the ladder theoretically did not bring a corresponding increase 
in firepower, although it probably added to the staying power of units 
in combat. Organization of new units containing a corresponding 
number of men would have increased overhead requirements, added 
grades and ratings, and required more equipment. The additional 
opportunity for promotion incident to creation of new units might 
have increased the incentive for enlisted men to qualify for advance- 

The serious shortage of men in 1944 caused the War Department to 
turn to basics as a possible source for strengthening combat units. 
Service units, which required few replacements, frequently could give 
up their basics without serious loss of efficiency. Shortly after the 
Gl conference in Washington in April 1944, at which the Gl's of the 
European and North African theaters were in attendance, it was 
decided to increase the detachment of patients so that casualties in the 
combat zone could be transferred immediately and those in the Com- 
munications Zone within 30 days. It was further decided to authorize 
a "replacement level" covering stockage, replacements en route to 
theater, and on requisition from the Zone of the Interior. 

There were three methods by which the War Department could 
obtain spaces for the detachment of patients and the replacement level, 
all three of which were eventually used. These methods were (1) to 
exceed the troop ceiling; (2) to inactivate existing units; and (3) to 
reduce table of organization authorized strengths. Patients who could 
not return to duty were carried as excess to the troop ceiling and some 
inactivations were directed, but these two expedients were inadequate. 
The third alternative was adopted and basics were reduced in certain 
units. 97 

War Department Circular 201, 22 May 1944, generally reduced the 
number of basic privates in other than rifle and medical units to 
5 percent. Instructions were further clarified in bulletins published 
17 October 1947 and 22 June 1948. Under later regulations the num- 
ber of basics in some units was reduced to 2 percent. 98 

Basics were not a satisfactory solution for the replacement problem. 
The authorization for most service type units was adequate, but the 
increase caused units to take on larger tasks thereby perpetuating 
their needs for additional personnel. Thereafter these units depended 
on the replacement system to supply their needs, thus creating an 

07 Statement, Col. Walter F. Ellis. HIS 330.14. OCMH. 

98 WD Cir 201, 22 May 44, sec. V ; DA Cir 24, 17 Oct 47 ; DA Cir 187, 22 Jim 48, sec. V ; 
WD Cir 266, 29 Jun 44, sec. III. 



unforeseen replacement training requirement. In the combat infantry 
units this 10 percent authorization for basics was inadequate to sustain 
action for any appreciable length of time. 

Col. Howard E. Kessinger, WDGS, said of the European theater : 
"The European theater has been slow to release basics and most of 
those who were released were used to activate new units, mainly 
Quartermaster. . . . basics are not likely to become a lucrative source 
of men for combat units unless directives requiring service units to 
assign a certain percentage of their general service men to the replace- 
ment system are issued." 99 The attempt to draw basics out of service 
units for the benefit of combat units was not always successful. 

The Women's Army Corps 

The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), authorized 15 
May 1942, placed women in military positions but did not subject 
them to the Articles of War or provide all of the benefits soldiers 
were entitled to. These conditions brought about such serious draw- 
backs in making assignments that additional legislation, which became 
effective 1 July 1943, gave members of the Women's Army Corps 
(WAC) full military status. 100 

This Corps, formed to replace men in certain military positions, 
soon was confronted with its own replacement problem. Congress 
did not authorize registration of women; consequently the ranks of 
the WAC's could be filled only by recruiting. The great interest shown 
when the Corps was first announced later diminished to the extent 
that recruiting quotas could not be filled. Women were recruited for 
general or special assignments in the Army Air Forces, Army Ground 
Forces, or Army Service Forces. Many served overseas. At its peak 
strength the corps contained about 100,000 women. 

WAC recruits were trained in five centers : No. 1, Des Moines, Iowa ; 
No. 2, Daytona Beach, Fla. ; No. 3, Fort Oglethorp, Ga. ; No. 4, Fort 
Devens, Mass. ; and No. 5, a center which had elements in Camps Polk 
and Ruston, La., and Monticello, Ark. A training command super- 
vised the training centers. The Fifth Training Center operated about 
3 months, the Fourth for 6 months, and the others for longer periods. 

Many of the first women who joined were required for adminis- 
trative positions within the Corps due. to its rapid expansion; later 
the reduction of the Corps caused many to be released from adminis- 
trative tasks. Some could not be immediately employed and there 
was an accumulation in pools of women awaiting assignments. Later, 

99 Ltr, G-l to Cof S, 26 Jun 44, sub : Inspection of the European Theater Replacement 
System. AG 322 Repl. DRB, TAG. 

100 M. E. Treadwell, "The Women's Army Corps" in U. S. ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, 
chs. VIII and IX. MS in OCMH, General Reference Office. 



recruits who were qualified in civilian occupations were assigned, after 
completion of training, to one of the 20 occupational fields in which 
they could be used. 101 Many women were permitted to select their 
assignments and station; others were recruited for general assign- 
ments and were sent to stations where their services were needed. 102 
The program was most successful in providing women for skilled 
jobs. The military services had few positions which could be filled 
by unskilled women or those with low educational qualifications, 
because for the most part such jobs involved heavy manual labor. 

In addition, there were instances of failure to utilize WAC's to 
best advantage. The Army Ground Forces was required to take a 
certain percentage of WAC's for its overhead and to place them in 
all of its posts, camps, and stations. The use of WAC's involved addi- 
tional cooks, orderlies, and other camp overhead. Structural changes 
in buildings necessary to provide quarters for these women sometimes 
were not worth the expense involved in view of the small number 
assigned. In one post where WAC's were assigned as truckdrivers 
to pick up rations male drivers had been loading trucks at the ware- 
houses but, since women drivers could not perform this work, a male 
soldier still had to go along with each truck. At the same post men 
were required to accompany women drivers who traveled through 
areas frequented by prowlers to deliver midnight suppers to night- 
workers. In the Southwest Pacific WAC's were assigned to a head- 
quarters in T/O positions contrary to War Department instructions. 
That headquarters was badly disrupted when it moved to New Guinea 
and the women had to remain behind. 103 

101 WD Cir 286, 8 Nov 43. 

102 WD Cir 340, 29 Dec. 43. 

103 Statement, Col. T. T. Stevenson, 22 May 52, HIS 330.14. OCMH. 


Armed Forces Induction Stations 

Armed Forces induction stations were Class 1 installations operated 
by the Army Service Forces under the control of the commanding 
generals of the service commands in which they were located. The 
selective service process started in the local communities when the 
men whose draft numbers were called reported to the stations for 
physical and mental examinations. 

State Governors determined local quotas after the Director of Se- 
lective Service announced the number of men required from each 
State. Efficient operation of replacement installations depended on 
an even flow of registrants and the State selective service headquar- 
ters assumed major responsibility for the rate at which men were 
called to meet the monthly quotas. Regular reports showing the daily 
situation at the induction centers were essential for proper regulation. 
Men selected for military service normally were ordered to report for 
induction within 90 days after their preinduction examination; if 
the period exceeded 90 days another examination was necessary. 1 

The mental test received by the selectee was designed to determine 
his learning ability. Education alone did not always correctly indi- 
cate an individual's potential value to the military service. Prein- 
duction examinations were designed not only to admit illiterates who 
were intelligent enough to be trained for military duties, but also to 
eliminate those who could read but still were too dull to become good 

Non-high- school graduates received qualification tests involving 
comprehension of numbers, elementary arithmetic, and the ability to 
read and understand simple paragraphs. Group target tests, requir- 
ing little language proficiency, were given to those who scored low 
in the first qualification tests. This second test measured memory 
and sense of direction and was designed to reveal those men in the 
lower scoring group who could be made useful by a short course in a 
special training unit. Those who failed in the group target test re- 
ceived additional tests to determine their ability to follow directions, 

1 Selective Service in Peacetime: First Report of the Director of Selective Service^ 
1940-41 (Washington 1942), p. 238. 




to match similar diagrams, and to coordinate muscular movements. 2 
Beginning in April 1941, induction stations rejected illiterates, a 
practice which was continued until 1 August 1942 when the regula- 
tions were changed so as to bring illiterates into the Army, by color, 
up to 10 percent of the inducted strength per month. Officers at in- 
duction stations also questioned men regarding prior service and those 
who were found to have been previously discharged as inapt were 
rejected. 3 

Even after a certain percentage of illiterates were accepted, there 
were wide variations in the rates of rejections at induction stations in 
different parts of the country* At Boise, Idaho, in November 1943 
the rejection rate was down to 0.6 percent, while at Oklahoma City, 
Okla., it was 23 percent. 4 

Efforts were made to keep a proper ratio of assignments between 
the Army and Xavy on the basis of education. Those who were al- 
lotted to the Xavy were delivered to the senior line officer of the Xavy 
on duty at the induction station. 5 Registrants inducted into the 
Army were forwarded to reception centers. At those stations in 
which recruiting and induction was combined it was possible for ap- 
plicants to join the Enlisted Reserve Corps or to enlist in the Army 
of the United States. 

Reception Centers 

After passing their preliminary examinations at induction stations 
the men received additional tests at reception centers, one reception 
center receiving men from a number of induction stations. Arrival 
at a reception center generally was regarded as marking the beginning 
of a man's military career. It was then that he entered the replace- 
ment stream in which he remained until he was assigned to and joined 
the unit with which he was to serve. The inductee usually spent 
four or more days at the reception center where he received his uni- 
form and was rated according to his physical qualifications, mental 
ability, civilian experience, and special aptitude, and an effort was 
made to find what skills he might possess which would be of value to 
the Army. The induction station tests were intended to determine 
whether or not the man could become a useful soldier ; the reception 

2 WD Cir 160, 25 May 42 ; WD Cir 194, 17 Jim 42, sec. V ; Ltr, WDSOS, 8 Jul 42, sub : 
Induction Station Procedures for Ascertaining Mental Capacity of Selectees and Recruits. 
AG 324.71 (7-8-42) UP. DRB, TAG; WD Pamphlet, 28 Jul 44, sub: The Evaluation, 
Classification and Assignment of Mil Pers in the U S Army ; RM 12-221, 30 Nov 44, 
Armed Forces Induction Station Operations ; AR 615-500. 

3 WD MR 1-7, as amended, Apr 41. 

4 WD General Council Minutes, 1 Nov 43. 

5 For an account of naval replacements see : Building the Savy's Bases in World War II 
(Washington 1947), ch. II. 

6 Memo, G-l to CofS, 8 Sep 44, sub : PRD Release on Replacements. Gl 322 Repl. 



center attempted to determine the military specialty in which he 
would be most useful. 

Since the reception center provided a man's first actual contact with 
military life, the impressions he received upon his arrival were likely 
to be lasting. A welcoming band helped to put new arrivals at ease. 
Orientation at reception centers probably had more influence on mo- 
rale and attitudes of soldiers than orientation given at any later time. 7 
The response to a good, carefully prepared talk was likely to be favor- 
able ; but poorly prepared or mumbled talks which left the men be- 
wildered about what was ahead of them merely added to their con- 
fusion. Several films, which assisted new men in their understanding 
of military activities, were available, and copies of the pamphlet 
"Army Life" generally were distributed. 

Men were given the Army General Classification Test, the mechani- 
cal aptitude test, and the radio code test. The first was intended to 
show general ability to learn, the second to reveal ability in mechanical 
fields, and the third to indicate men of value in communications work. 
Five groups of Army grades, designated by numbers, were deter- 
mined by classification scores. 

After the scores on the tests were recorded, trained interviewers 
conducted informal but guided discussions intended to bring out back- 
ground, educational interests, hobbies, desires as to Army assignments, 
and other facts having a bearing on future service. Good interviewers 
were skilled in questioning and in drawing out desired information 
which they recorded accurately and concisely. They would put the 
men at their ease and ask questions which did not suggest possible 
answers. Seventy -five different oral trade tests were available to 
determine how much a man really knew about a job in which he 
claimed experience. A man's main and second best civilian occupa- 
tions were determined from his interview. 

Information gained during the classification tests and interviews 
was coded and entered by punching holes around the edge of WD 
AGO Form No. 20, the soldier's qualification card. Entries on this 
form reflecting physical condition, learning ability, aptitudes, age, 
education, and civilian background were evaluated to determine the 
man's assignment to Ground, Air, or Service Forces. This record sum- 
marized personal history, schooling, work experience, leadership abil- 
ity, interests, hobbies, foreign language ability, and other character- 
istics which might be of value to the military service. The 
qualification card accompanied each enlisted man throughout his 
Army career and provided the data for entries on his discharge cer- 
tificate that were intended to be useful in his efforts to find a job after 
he returned to civilian life. 

7 Army Service Forces, Conference of Commanding Generals of Service Commands, 
Chicago, 22 Jul 43. ASF Control Div, Drawer G-138. DRB t TAG. 



Wlien the interview was over the qualification card was checked for 
completeness, accuracy, and legibility. It was then referred to the 
classifier, who checked the man's civilian occupations and, on the basis 
of information on the card, recommended an initial duty or training 
assignment, either to a replacement training center or to a unit. 

Orders calling members of the Enlisted Reserve Corps to active 
duty were forwarded to reception centers by service commands, a pro- 
cedure similar to that of inducting men through the draft. The Re- 
servist, upon reporting to the reception center, w^as given a physical 
examination. If physically qualified he was assigned to an appropri- 
ate organization. 

While one objective of initial classification was to recommend a man 
for duty or training in the Army job for which his civilian experience 
indicated he was best fitted, there were several factors which might 
result in his being assigned to a duty entirely foreign to his previous 
experience, at least to his way of thinking. These included : a surplus 
of civilian occupations above Army requirements ; many civilian jobs 
having no Army counterpart; or a personal history indicating lead- 
ership potentialities. The recommended assignment was not neces- 
sarily the man's best or even second best civilian occupation, but was 
determined after an analysis which weighed all the pertinent facts 
revealed by the classification tests and the interview as well as by a 
consideration of the needs of the service. Reception centers made an 
effort to distribute men of various levels of education and mental 
ability equally among the arms and services, but in doing so it was 
necessary to follow regulations designed to assign men who had suffi- 
cient skill to meet technical requirements to certain branches of the 
Army. 8 

The War Department's desire to hold those recruits who had special 
qualifications for one arm or service in the reception centers until an 
appropriate assignment could be made sometimes resulted in con- 
siderable delay. 9 During the latter part of 1941, Fifth Corps Area 
held some men who were awaiting assignment to ordnance replace- 
ment training centers for a month and the limited clothing issues, lack 
of training facilities, and poor housing in the camps were detri- 
mental to morale. The War Department ordered that whenever the 
delay incidental to making a proper assignment for the efficient use of 
civilian skills exceeded 1 month, the corps area commander was au- 
thorized direct communication with the replacement training center 
commander with a view to expediting the shipment. 

Shipments from reception centers of about 300 men could be made 
more efficiently than smaller or larger shipments. Reception center 

8 WD Cir 317, 31 Jul 44 ; WD Cir 325, 7 Aug 44 sec. V ; WD Cir 349, 26 Aug 44, sec. Ill ; 
WD Cir 427, 2 Nov 44, sec. Ill ; WD Cir 147, 17 May 45. 

9 Ltr, Hq 5th Corps Area, 14 Oct 41, sub : Disposition of Specialists and 3-Year Recruits 
in Reception Centers, w/lst Ind. AG 200.0/1. DRB, TAG. 



officials made use of rate tables showing the number of men with cer- 
tain skills needed in different type units, but shipments frequently 
were made up from daily teletype reports, which units made to service 
command headquarters and which showed MOS desired. Experience 
indicated that in order to select a shipment of 300 men and furnish 
the requested MOS distribution, a pool of about 1,200 was necessary. 10 
Eeception centers operated more efficiently when they had capacities 
of 2,000 or more and their daily arrivals were approximately 400 men. 
This permitted continuous processing and fully utilized the overhead 11 

The provision of train crews for the transportation of filler replace- 
ments from reception centers to newly activated divisions became a 
serious problem in 1942. 12 There was little trouble when the corps 
area of origin furnished the administrative and mess detail, but when 
the corps area of destination was requested to furnish the crews the 
burden usually fell upon the newly activated division. Army Ground 
Forces believed this was an unjustifiable burden on cadres which con- 
tained only 21 mess sergeants, 21 first cooks, and 21 second cooks, all of 
whom were needed in the camps. When divisions were being activated 
at established posts it sometimes was possible to borrow personnel 
for the train crews from the posts, but many divisions were activated 
at new posts where this could not be done. This was true of the 81st 
Division which arrived at Camp Rucker, Ala.*, 5 May 1942, three days 
after the post was activated. 

In an effort to relieve newly activated divisions from furnishing 
these details the War Department directed in July that service com- 
mands of origin would furnish a train commander, quartermaster, 
and medical officer as well as mess sergeants, cooks, and kitchen police 
for duty on trains. 13 The service command of destination was to be 
requested to furnish crews only in instances where the men required 
could not be obtained by the service command of origin. Use of re- 
placement training center instructor personnel on additional duty in- 
cident to the control of trainee detachments enroute to or from 
replacement training centers was to be restricted to that which did not 
interfere with operations in the center. 

Replacement Training Centers 

Early Developments 

The War Department Operations and Training Division, G3, early 
in 1940 considered establishing "pseudomilitary training camps" 

10 Report of Replacement Board, bk.